It's been a tricky start to a new job for Dannevirke Elske Centre's programme manager Lynne Ellingham-Boyd.

With the district being hit by a critical water shortage, followed closely by the entire country being in lockdown because of Covid-19, it hasn't made for an ideal start but she is settling into her new role, which she took up on March 9.

Ellingham-Boyd is no stranger to the Elske family as she started there in August last year as a programme assistant and has had plenty of time to get to know clients and volunteers alike.

But the lockdown doesn't mean that Elske's 30 or so clients will be forgotten about although they will no longer be able to attend their Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday outings there.


Ellingham-Boyd and staff members Margaret Brown, who is programme assistant, and cook and camp mother Sharlene Barnett, will be in constant contact with clients to help them through what will be a difficult time for many.

"It's been amazing how the community as a whole and how we as an organisation have been working together to help."

Elske Centre is under the auspices of Anglican Care Waiapu (ACW) and this organisation has been working with Tararua District Council to find out how it can help and where it can fit in.

"We're waiting on a directive on just where we can help, because we don't want to be going out into the community physically. That's a safety issue.

"But we are in regular contact with our clients and making sure they have everything they need to keep functioning."

She said she considered the lockdown to be almost a once in a lifetime experience.

"Social isolation is going to be the big issue and, as we have only just gone into lockdown, it could become a bigger problem."

She said ACW senior management is looking into how to help clients through, mentally and emotionally, and will be giving direction on the best way to do that.


"So we are contacting clients, touching base, listening and reassuring. But as time goes on we will have to have other measures in place."

Ellingham-Boyd said senior management, with the council, was looking into safety issues.

"We won't be doing anything more until the ACW and the council are happy."

Taking over the role of Elske's programme manager was a good fit for Ellingham-Boyd, who says she has worked most of her life in the health and fitness industries in various capacities.

"I have an interest in working with older people and keeping them well and healthy. The last four or five years, I have concentrated on working as a diversional therapist in a rest-home.

"The rest-home industry is changing in that there are young people living in care centres. My work has given me quite a bit of diversity.

"At Elske our main aim is to cater holistically for everyone's needs. We want them to feel safe and happy."

Ellingham-Boyd said Dannevirke had a higher percentage of older people than a lot of places and some had no family here.

It was her own family connections to the district which had made taking on the Elske role easier.

"I have a lot of family living in the district so it feels like coming home."

Ellingham-Boyd divides her time between Waipukurau and Te Rehunga, where she and her husband have bought the church.

"We were married just over three weeks ago. Our timing couldn't have been better. I feel for anyone who has a wedding any time soon."

She is confident of a bright future.

"We'll get through this and will come out of it stronger as an organisation and a community."