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Future Matters

A Volunteer-led Programme Empowering Communities to Plan for End of Life Care.

Future Matters is a community based solution to raising awareness of end of life care planning. Volunteers are trained to cascade end of life care planning information to local communities. They support members of the public to put their plans in place and help them share their plans with those who will care for them.

Future Matters improves advance care planning and all other forms of planning for end of life.

Our Volunteer-led Programme Empowers Communities to voice their choice in End of Life Care

Volunteers are given the knowledge, skills and tools to become Future Matters Volunteers, or peer educators in end of life care planning.

Future Matters Volunteers deliver one to one appointments to help clients plan and write out their end of life care plans including their advance care plan.

Volunteers also run workshops for community organisations. They make presentations to a variety of groups (e.g. older persons forums); and run information stalls at appropriate events and during Dying Matters week.


Future Matters is successful and cost effective. In an average size Clinical Commissioning Group (population size 250,000), the following outcomes can be expected:

Year 1: 22 volunteers trained, 17 awareness raising events delivered, 260 members of the public reached, 47 end of life care plans completed (including 12 advance care plans).

Year 2: 570 members of the public reached through awareness raising events, 105 one to one appointments, 65 end of life care plans put in place (including 31 advance care plans).

Future Matters has been developed, delivered, monitored and improved over a period of 5 years. Gentle Dusk can deliver the Future Matters training programme and support its implementation in any locality in the UK or deliver the training as a stand-alone training package. A license for the programme and train the trainer option can also be commissioned.


“The support from Future Matters was very useful. I feel less anxious about my future and it has helped me to discuss my future with my GP. The support from Future Matters was all helpful and has put my mind at rest”
Future Matters Service User

“Gentle Dusk’s ethos of collaborative partnership working encourages innovation and excellence. As providers of high-quality training & resources around End of Life Care, they inspire their trainees to take responsibility for driving the project forward and delivering outcomes. Working with Gentle Dusk has enabled us to attract new highly-skilled volunteers and to upskill current volunteers to the benefit of both Future Matters & our organisation as a whole”
Volunteering Manager, Age UK Islington

Partners and Clients

NHS London – North Central London Clinical Commissioning Groups – Age UK Islington – Age UK Camden – Islington CCG - London Borough of Barnet – Jewish Care.


For further information and to commission Future Matters please contact Mireille Hayden at

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The Volunteer Training Programme

Volunteers attend a four day training programme (covering 8 modules) that equips them with the knowledge, skills and tools to become a Future Matters Volunteer. The training includes planning for the last years of life/end of life care; advance care planning; beliefs and attitudes to death and dying, initiating and holding conversations around planning for the last years of life; understanding death dying and local services, legal issues (wills and powers of attorney) and funerals; and supporting service users to complete an advance care plan.

Module 1: Introduction to last years of life care planning and Future Matters Volunteer Role
Module 2: Putting your house in order Part 1 (Wills & Powers of Attorney)
Module 3: Introduction to Advance Care Planning
Module 4: Putting your house in order Part 2 (local services and funeral wishes)
Module 5: Loss and bereavement
Module 6: Planning for Last Years of Life – Volunteer Skills
Module 7: Putting it into practice (Community)
Module 8: Putting in into practice (One to One Support)

- Future Matters Volunteer Training: A Four Day Training Programme
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Outcomes / Reports

The programme, initially developed in 2010, has benefitted from continual monitoring, redevelopment and improvement. Originally commissioned by NHS London for implementation across North Central London, it is currently being commissioned by Islington Clinical Commissioning Group.

Gentle Dusk Future Matters Report Islington Year 1 and
Gentle Dusk Future Matters Report Islington Year 2

In 2012-2013, the first training was commissioned by NHS London for delivery within North Central London: 31 volunteers were trained from a range of community organisations across the area. Within the first 6 months, the volunteers had cascaded information about end of life and advance care planning to 722 individuals. A further 3,350 individuals have been reached through the distribution of leaflets, articles and electronic networks. The wide diversity of the volunteers provided a richness that enabled great reach to varied communities in North Central London with workshops being delivered in Guajarati, Spanish, and using sign language and interpreters. Please see Gentle Dusk Future Matters Report 2012-2013 for full details.

Case Studies

The stories of those supported by our Future Matters Volunteers best describe the work we do. Please look at some of the recent case studies:
Case Study 1 - Anne and Ethel
Case Study 2 - Mark

Additional Resources

A number of valuable resources have been developed as part of this programme including an Advance Care Plan template which was developed in partnership with Age UK Islington volunteers and incorporating feedback from clients: Gentle Dusk Advance Care Plan

Volunteers use their skills in remarkable ways. After completing the Future Matters training programme Rick Taylor wrote 2 poems

A Final Journey – highly commended in the Dying Matters Creative Writing Competition 2014.

I Didn’t Want This

For further information and to commission the Future Matters programme or the training please contact Mireille Hayden at Please also see our Training page for information about all out training programmes.


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