Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.

News & Feedback

Our News

Islington Dying Matters Festival 2017 - Lifting the Taboo, Developing Dialogue

“This year during Dying Matters Week we are proud to have reached 316,500 people with our social media campaign, engaged in long conversations with just under 200 people at our Dying for a Cuppa event and Death Cafe, provided a space for young people to talk about death, developed some new networks for our young peoples’ work and had a successful, engaging, taboo busting and life affirming theatre event”.
Mireille Hayden, Senior Partner, Gentle Dusk.

Please read the details of our events and their outcomes in our full report:
Future Matters Dying Matters Festival Report

In the Press

We are really delighted that the work of Gentle Dusk, including our workforce training and Future Matters project, has been featured in Hospice UK’s e-hospice newsletter, Dec 2017. This follows on from an article written by Joanie Speers, one of our Future Matters volunteers in which she tells e-hospice how she enjoys helping people think about the end of life they would like.

Our 2016 Dying Matters press release covering death, dying and bereavement and promoting our 'Tea and Death' events was published in the Islington Tribune and the Islington Gazette.

Our awareness raising poetry evening which we organised for Dying Matters Week 2014 was also featured in the Islington Gazette.

Our Future Matters programme has been featured in the Dying Matters Autumn 2013 Newsletter and
Dying Matters August 2014 Newsletter and in the NCPC Inside Palliative Care December 2013 Magazine.

A more personal story from Mireille Hayden was featured in the Ham and High May 19th 2011.

What They Say

“Gentle Dusk’s ethos of collaborative partnership working encourages innovation and excellence. As providers of high-quality training and resources around the theme of Last Years of Life Planning, they inspire their trainees to take responsibility for driving the project forward, and delivering outcomes. Working with Gentle Dusk in this area enabled us to attract new highly-skilled volunteers and to upskill current volunteers to the benefit of both the Future Matters project, and our organisation as a whole. We value their contribution to our service delivery.“
Volunteering Manager, Age UK Islington

“I just wanted to say that thanks so much for all the work, kindness and sheer bravery around this End of Life work! You have been amazing”
Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

“It's been great having you on the 'team'! it's been a pleasure working with you - thank you for all your hard work and efforts”
Palliative Care Consultant

“It has been a pleasure to work with you and I would like to thank you for the frank and open manner in which we have been enabled to work together on this valuable project. I am pleased that our collaboration will hopefully leave a growing legacy with those who choose to take this forward in their homes”
University Head of School commenting on the Care Homes Training programme

“This was a most excellent and necessary event. I strongly encourage you to repeat it often and broaden the range of people engaged”
“All of the elements of the course were extremely beneficial”
Participants on the Introductory Workshop in End of Life Care “Informing and supporting communities”

Planning Your Journey

Just imagine going on the longest journey you’ve ever been on; to a faraway distant land with no plan to ever return. Would you consider not getting anything ready for it? Not telling your friends and family about your plans? And not organising anything, not even your passport? You’d just never do that would you?! Or would you?

How about your final journey? The one where you take your last breath and leave this world? Why is it that every single of one of us makes that journey yet the majority of us have made no plans for it, haven’t shared our wishes with our loved ones and think we’re too young to do so?

Let me tell you a personal story…
I’ve been working in “End of life Care” (as they call it) for a number of years. One of my main concerns has always been the lack of openness in society around death and dying. Campaigning for greater awareness, open discussions and better planning for people’s own end of life is very important to me. If people can talk about their wishes for their last days, their funeral and all the issues related to those, it would make the last journey a little less difficult, especially for those left behind.

To practice what I preach I approached my mum about a year ago to find out whether she had thought of her end of life, what she wanted, whether she had made any plans. She laughed. She said she was way too young for all that. And of course she was. As a 65 year old, she was young, fighting fit, with no medical problems and a very busy life looking after her husband, her 6 grandchildren, walking the dogs everyday, looking after the 2 cats, having friends for dinner nearly every week. It was exhausting just looking at her! So I never brought the subject up again.

On the 10th October 2010, I got that call. The one that comes out of nowhere and changes your life forever. Mum had had a severe stroke in the night and hadn’t been found until the morning. We were told she was going to die. How could she? She’s so young. She’s so fit. What do we do?

At the moment she’s still in hospital. She’s unable to walk or talk. Her left brain is completely dead. She will never recover. She will never be able to talk again. I don’t know how long she will live. I don’t know what she wants for her funeral. I don’t know how she wants to share out her possessions. She hasn’t made a will. She never talked to us about it. Right now, it’s just a worry too much. What I know for sure is that in this time of great sadness, mum would have never wanted us to worry and struggle because she never put her final plans in order. But she can’t do anything about it now. When she dies, I won’t know what we’ll do.

What can you do?
You can start thinking about what you would want for your end of life. You can talk to your GP about any particular medical wishes you have. You can start looking into your funeral arrangements. If you haven’t written a will, you need to sort that out. You can start a conversation with your close ones.

Don’t put it off to another day, start today. 10 days before her stroke, my mum had a conversation with a friend; she told her she really needed to sort out her end of life care plans. She didn’t do it. In those 10 days she didn’t find the time.

Practical Help
There are a range of organisations that offer help and support.

Age UK has a great LifeBook where you can record all your details (financial, vital documents, possessions, funeral wishes). When I looked through it, I couldn’t help but think what a relief it would have been if mum had written one of these. Call Age UK on 0845 685 1061 and quote re ALL025 to obtain your free copy.

You will find good tips about how to start the conversation with your close ones and further support in

For me it’s all too late but for you it’s not. Make the most of that.

Mireille Hayden
End of life Care Lead & Daughter of a Loving Mother


Training with Gentle Dusk

Support with Gentle Dusk

Contact Gentle Dusk

Gentle Dusk on Facebook

Gentle Dusk on Twitter