About us

“The charity promotes conscious, positive ageing and dying through helping us grow our caring network circles so more of us end our lives in the PLACE we want. Strong caring networks in our local communities enhance the capacity of carers and families to care for ourselves and for each other, as well as for the person who is dying. We are bringing our dying home.”

Dr Max Mackay-James

Who are we?

max 2015

 Dr Max Mackay-James: Coordinator for the Diealog Compassionate Community

Max is a 60+ GP doctor who decided to take off the medical white coat, roll up his sleeves and get stuck in at the grassroots. He is post-graduate London University, Department of Palliative Care (2011), and passionate about growing community-centred caring network circles. Max founded the Conscious Ageing Trust in 2007 (UK registered charity 1120811) to support Diealog Compassionate Community Hubs co-created with local people. The charity’s Diealog approach was given the ‘Dying Well’ Community Pathfinder award by the National Council for Palliative Care/Public Health England in 2014. As well as working directly with people who are living with a life-limiting illness or caring for a dying family member or friend, Hubs enhance and sustain all our caring networks engaging the whole community, and actively rippling out to marginalised groups.

Coming to the end of my career as a GP and doing postgraduate training in End of Life Care 2008-10, I became aware that there is a huge gap between the 80% of us who say we want to die to die at home, and the 22% who do so in the UK. Part of the solution is simply about freeing the power of local communities to grow our our caring networks and that is what the Diealog Compassionate Community Hubs do. Part of the solution is also about a reconfiguration of service, releasing more resources to enhance community capacity ‘grassroots-up’ and rippling out to reach disadvantaged and excluded groups. I believe we need to speak out clearly about our preferences for ageing and dying, and more important we also need to nurture the freedom that will enable us to live out our wishes in the place and way we want”

IMG_1747Julie Ryan:  Project Manager,  Community Engagement & social change promoter

Julie has worked with the Trust for three years, working with Max and the Trustees to bring into being the Diealog Compassionate Community network, growing and promoting the charity’s activities and presence via events, websites, social media, and fundraising. Part of this role is also to work with local people in existing Compassionate Community Hubs and to assist the initiation of new ones, and to promote the Diealog approach nationally. 

Conscious Ageing Trust: a Social Enterprise Charity

The aim of the Diealog Compassionate Community Hubs is to grow community capacity  ’grassroots up’ for better ageing and dying:
1. User Movement
- freeing the power of local people to live as well as possible – and die – in the PLACE they want 
- collaborating with and promoting Diealog partner organisations and practitioners as part of a wider social movement for well-being at end of life

2. Social Change
- promoting community-centred activities that reach out to and are inclusive of all groups
- supporting openness and a democratic reconfiguration of services

“Socialised Dying, Not Managed Death!” We welcome community activists, social entrepreneurs, and caring people of all ages and from all walks of life to join us and help to grow the Diealog network. We love people to join us with experience (tasks include local community Hub initiation and coordination, charity funding bids, organizing events and social inclusion activities, website and online platform management, feature writing, copy-editing and promotion, etc…), AND we equally love people with no special skills, but simply with plenty of commonsense and good hearts, who share our passion for helping more of us die in the PLACE we want. Please contact us.


Mr Chris Loveless


   Dr Max Mackay-James


Dr Penny Quilliam

Conscious Ageing / Diealog Compassionate Community is inspired and informed by the work of:

– Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the UK Hospice movement
“You matter because you are, and you matter to the last moment in your life.”

– Professor Allan Kellehear (PhD, FAcSS, University of Bradford)
Medical and Public Health sociologist and researcher on the ‘Compassionate Community’ approach

– Dr Suresh Kumar, Director of the Institute of Palliative Care, Kerala, India
Developer of sustainable, self-managed and community owned system of care for ageing and dying

- Stephen and Ondrea Levine, USA pioneers and lifetime holistic practitioners of conscious ageing and dying