A centre that has for 29 years provided social interaction and services for elderly living alone in Hawke's Bay is closing because it is no longer financially viable.
The Lusk Centre on Te Aute Rd, Havelock North, was started by Sally Lusk in 1992, when she was in her 80s.
Sally had a vision for elderly living alone to come and enjoy a singalong, friendship and companionship with like-minded people over a cup of tea.
Her family supported her decision to sell the family's holiday home and purchase the building in 1991.
Sally was born in Massachusetts, US on May 17, 1910, and met her husband, Alan Lusk, while in India.
The young family moved to New Zealand in 1941, originally settling in Christchurch then moving to Havelock North.
The Lusk Centre started when Age Concern had no office in Havelock North and after a public meeting in December 1991 Sally identified a need for a centralised service to cater for the elderly living alone in Havelock North.
Her dream was realised when the Lusk Centre became a "second home" for retired people in the community.
Sally shared the Lusk home with Age Concern in 1992 until Age Concern sought alternative premises in 1997.
It was originally open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Presbyterian Support East Coast (PSEC) Enliven took on the service in 2018 and added structure to the centre during the day.
Lusk Centre board trustee Murray Ward said times had changed as more people choose retirement villages that offer their own services.
People were also doing more activities on their own, becoming more active in their older age and working for longer, he said.
Enliven had decided not to continue services at the Lusk Centre and it would be too expensive for the Lusk Centre board to continue it themselves, Ward said.
PSEC acting chief executive Mary Wills said despite the "best will" of PSEC, their staff and community, they were unable to make it financially viable despite considerable investment.
"We remain deeply committed to services for older people in Havelock North. It is vitally important for older people to remain engaged and connected to reduce loneliness in our community, so we are pleased to offer an alternative to Sally's place."
From next week, Enliven will provide day programmes on Tuesday and Thursday at the JH Mason Village Hall in Havelock North and a new men's group will be added to the programme at the Enliven Centre in Hastings.
"I would like to acknowledge the work of the Lusk board, volunteers and staff who have supported older people in the Havelock North community over many years."
Centre member Gwen Corner said Sally was a "remarkable lady" and it is "very sad" that the centre is closing.
She joined 10 years ago after moving to Hawke's Bay from the UK and has met some great friends through the centre.
The board has been in consultation with the Hawke's Bay Foundation to donate the funds from the sale of the property.
Ward said it was intended that once a year, the income generated from the funds will be distributed to local charities or groups that provide similar services that the Lusk Centre did.
A lot of members were already involved with other services such as Age Concern or Heretaunga Seniors but the board hoped a venue to continue the fortnightly quiz (one of the most popular activities) and a venue for the fitness activities in Havelock North could be found.
Ward wanted to thank all the volunteers over the years for their work.