A CONSULTATION is underway that may lead to the closure of some Co-op Funeralcare branches in the region.

The company has 31 funeral homes operating across Darlington, Durham and Teesside and a spokeswoman said the proposals will affect 'a small number' of staff.

The company says that the proposed closures are not a direct result of Covid-19 and were being reviewed prior to the pandemic.

Families currently arranging funerals will not be impacted and all existing customers who have pre-paid funeral plans will see no change to their existing terms.

A spokeswoman said the firm will retain a 'strong physical presence' in the region, adding: "The majority of funeral arrangements in the North-East are made in people’s homes and our colleagues will always be available to support families face to face.

"The way in which customers are communicating with us has changed and we have adapted our services to reflect this.

"By offering more choice and a range of ways to arrange funerals, whether that’s over the phone, online, or face to face, we will be able to service all communities.

"A small number of proposed closures is currently under consultation which could potentially affect a small number of colleagues.

"We are consulting with colleagues directly and via our recognised trade union to provide support on a personal and individual basis.”