Living for the present, planning for the future.
All of us worry about death and dying at some point, and we all have experience of it; but when the time comes for urgent decisions, it can be hard to find the words.
Only 7 % of us have recorded our wishes and preferences for the care we would like at the end of our lives.
Gentle Dusk is a socially-minded organisation raising awareness of the importance of end of life care planning. Through our training courses, workshops and support services, we aim to bring as much compassion as possible to death, dying and bereavement.
We help people to document their emergency and future care wishes, financial and legal affairs. We want to help improve the quality of life for anyone facing death, for their loved ones and the health professionals involved in their care.
At Gentle Dusk we believe that open and honest planning for the future doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be sad. These conversations can be gentle, calm, reassuring and empowering – and we can help you get started.
Gentle Dusk works with individuals, the NHS, and private and voluntary sectors across the UK.
We offer a range of training courses for health and social care professionals, and for the general public to gain skills and confidence initiating difficult conversations. We also explore the practicalities of end of life care planning.
Our bespoke workshops can help institutions strengthen the resources and support they offer to their staff, clients and wider networks.
Through our flagship Future Matters service, Gentle Dusk partners with community organisations and the NHS to provide free support for local residents planning their future.
Gentle Dusk also hosts regular events, including Death Cafés. Open conversation about death, dying and bereavement, with some tea and cake, can help us all to think about the kind of life we want – as well as our end of life wishes.
We are a small team of paid staff and volunteers, with a range of experiences from service improvement through to training, counselling, project management and communications. We share a commitment to improving the resources, training and support available in the UK for issues relating to death, dying and end of life care.
Founder – Director
Gentle Dusk was founded in 2011 by Mireille Hayden, a Health Psychologist with 20 years of experience developing end of life care and palliative care services in primary care, acute care, care homes, hospices and third sector organisations.
Her unique energy and enthusiasm combines knowledge and techniques from psychology, with experience of healthcare services and frontline support.
Gentle Dusk grew out of Mireille’s personal experience. As her mother got older, Mireille struggled to begin a conversation about future health and financial wishes. Although she had seen so many cases where planning ahead was critical for ensuring a person’s wishes were known and respected, she couldn’t find resources to support the planning process. Gentle Dusk fills this gap.
Maria is an experienced Project Manager and Trainer with a diverse business portfolio. She is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner, and a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
Maria came to Gentle Dusk as a Future Matters Volunteer with the Age UK Islington (AUKI) service. In addition to working with Gentle Dusk, she has remained a volunteer at AUKI since 2013.
Communication and Engagement Specialist Advisor
Sarah is a journalist by training, with a background in global health communications and partnerships. Sarah came to Gentle Dusk through her mother, a volunteer advance care planner who showed her that conversations about end of life so often improve day-to-day living.
Business and Events Co-ordinatorSophie has worked predominately for the BBC as a Production Co-ordinator, planning a variety of TV productions and organising international film shoots. Sophie has recently joined the Gentle Dusk team and is looking forward to working for an organisation that does such valuable work around death, dying and end of life planning.
Psychotherapist, Walking with GriefBen is an Eco-psychotherapist with a master’s degree in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy and since then has been heavily involved in end-of-life care and bereavement work over the last 5 years. Ben is facilitating our Walking with Grief Service for Memorial Woodlands. He is passionate about the impact being in nature can have on our mental state and holistic health, and the innate supportive quality that arises in nature. The ‘Walking with Grief’ service aims to provide a canvas and hold a safe space for people to find meaning in their life after loss.
Associates and Volunteers
In addition, we have a selection of Gentle Dusk associates and volunteers to help in the wide range of Partnerships and Projects we are involved in. The Gentle Dusk associates and volunteers have been carefully selected for their personal and professional qualities. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have a range of experiences from service improvement through to training and counselling. They all have in common a commitment to improving the quality of care of those affected by all the issues relating to death, dying and end of life care.
Partnership is at the heart of Gentle Dusk’s approach. We believe that it is a privilege to be able to discuss death, dying bereavement and hear others’ wishes for their own future, and our partnerships always begin with listening, transparency and a commitment to collaboration.
Here are some of the organisations we work with. Click below to learn more about how these partnerships are helping to meet individuals’ and communities’ specific needs
Age UK Islington (AUKI) has been a Future Matters service delivery partner in Islington since 2013. It is currently funded by North Central London CCG.
Gentle Dusk trains AUKI volunteers to support more than 200 Islington residents a year in completing an advance care plan or setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney. Together we develop free resources and host events tailored to the needs of the Islington community. In 2021, we hosted the Carers’ Rights Day together offering one-to-one services that aren’t freely available to them anywhere else.
“Although relatively new to Age UK Islington and joining at a time that was both challenging and immensely inspiring, one of the areas I was keen to understand better was the Future Matters service, run in partnership with Gentle Dusk. I was greatly impressed with the innovative and flexible approach the staff and volunteers adopted in delivering both end of life support and future planning. Together, Age UK Islington and Gentle Dusk were able to provide clients, carers and professionals with a range of educational and informative workshops on subjects such as Lasting Power of Attorney and Coordinate My Care, alongside the one to one client support to put together plans for the future. I look forward to continuing the long-established partnership.”
Sally Miller Chief Executive
Age UK Islington
As part of their Compassionate Employers programme, Hospice UK commissioned Gentle Dusk to develop a series of training workshops and webinars about Bereavement, Caring and Terminal Illness. These are now being delivered by the Gentle Dusk’s senior team to businesses across the UK.
“Mireille Hayden has in-depth knowledge about the topic of death, dying and bereavement. She is solution orientated and has worked collaboratively with Hospice UK to develop our bereavement workshops. She is passionate about the subject matter. During our Bereavement workshops she has delivered a wonderful balance of theory and practical advice as well as draw on her clinical experience to engage compassionately with workshop attendees”
Compassionate Employers Programme Manager
Memorial Woodlands approached Gentle Dusk in 2019 after their staff had attended the Gentle Dusk Future Matters training. Initially commissioned to develop and deliver a lecture on Talking about Dying, Gentle Dusk now runs a series of training, seminar and events on end of life care, end of life care planning and bereavement. These events are then offered for free to local health, social care and community professionals as well as members of the public.
Gentle Dusk is also developing a bespoke bereavement service for Memorial Woodlands. The provision will include a bereavement group and bereavement walks, supported by trained bereavement professionals and volunteers.
“Mireille of Gentle Dusk has led the training at Memorial Woodlands for over two years and has provided an excellent service and is a pleasure to work with.”
Christopher Hiatt Baker
Director, Memorial Woodlands
Macmillan and Gentle Dusk have joined forces to deliver the Future Matters service to cancer patients in Haringey. Information and support is made available to cancer patients around holistic needs assessment and end of life care planning. Webinars, professional briefings, death café’s and one to one appointments are being delivered to support end of life care conversations and advance care planning.
St Christopher’s Hospice were keen to set up a service to support the local community around conversations about death, dying and bereavement. Gentle Dusk supported St Christophers to implement a service similar to Future Matters and offered them advice on strategic and implementations plans, recruitment, advertising and monitoring. Gentle Dusk also delivered their Future Matters training to the team and project volunteers. Evaluation of the learning evidenced that the volunteers had gained confidence through the programme.
“Gentle Dusk are good partners to work with, the quality of education delivery and materials is high, with good outcomes for the volunteers and our organisation.”
Director of Supportive Care, St Christopher’s Hospice
Gentle Dusk and Wellcome Collection collaborated on running a series of death café’s to support visitors to talk freely about death, dying and bereavement. Gentle Dusk and their team of Death Café facilitators supported participants to discuss end of life in a friendly, informal and supported way.
The feedback was excellent and incredibly positive.
“It exceeded my expectations, which were high. Other people’s views/perspectives were both fascinating and helpful”
“Positive experience of being welcomed and open-minds”
“This was extremely helpful, especially since I’m still dealing with heavy grief. The people in my group were just amazing”
“Such a supportive environment, a reassuring facilitator”
Yes we provide consultancy and support to suit your needs. We can provide workshops, training, support groups and individual sessions as well as bespoke events and assistance . Email us at email@example.com
Yes, we provide a variety of courses, workshops to all types of audiences. Please refer to our Training page.
Additionally, we can tailor and present bespoke courses for health and social care professionals as well as employees in a variety of companies. Please contact us
Yes we offer one-to-one support for advance care planning. It does depend on which Borough you live in. Refer answers to questions 2 and 3 below.
If the Future Matters service does not exist in your borough we can organise a FREE one-off consultation to understand your needs. After which should you wish to have one-to-one session(s) these can be arranged at a fee.
For your free one-off consultation email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Matters is accessible to all. It is currently it is available for free on the NHS in Haringey and Islington. Please contact us to discuss your needs and service costs by emailing email@example.com
Yes we can organise a FREE one-off consultation to understand your needs. After which further one-to-one session(s) as required can be arranged at a fee.
For your free one-off consultation email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It depends which advance care plan(s) you have setup. All allow changes but some have a more complex process than others.
You can update your ACP by adding Addendum Page(s) then signing and dating your updates.
Co-ordinate my Care
Information can be updated but you need to resubmit to your GP before they can approve on your changes.
While you still have capacity you can change your mind or cancel your Advance Directive at any time. If you want to change it, you should make a new form and give copies to the people close to you, your GP and anyone involved in your care (instructing them to destroy the old version). You can cancel your Advance Directive by destroying it (and any other copies you have made).
We suggest downloading our LPA Key Information which contains a Glossary of Terms used. If you require the Future Matters service for Lasting Powers of Attorney and live or have a GP in either Haringey or Islington email: email@example.com
Should you not be in the boroughs of Haringey or Islington we can organise a FREE one-off consultation to understand your needs. After which further one-to-one session(s) as required can be arranged at a fee. To organise your consultation email: firstname.lastname@example.org