A drop in demand and changing demographics have led to the demise of two long-running local services for the elderly run by the Rodney Charitable Health Trust.
Frozen meal deliveries and a weekly elderly entertainment service will finish at the end of this month.
Wendy Hawkings, who runs the charitable trust and was previously the head of Northlink Health, kept both services going when she sold Northlink to Geneva Healthcare in 2013.
However, she says that a combination of factors, including fewer referrals, clients moving away from the area or into care homes, and the fact that both people actually running the services are retiring themselves, means that the meals and entertainment services are coming to an end.
At a special farewell lunch for clients last month, Mrs Hawkings said it was the end of an era.
“I started this in 1977 and we were the pilot,” she said. “Before me, there was no such thing as home care in New Zealand and that system is now throughout NZ, so it really is the end of an era.”
Meal delivery operator Annette Carr says that apart from bulk deliveries to Warkworth Birthing Centre, which will source the same meals for itself in future, there is only demand for around 10 meals a week, meaning the service is not viable.
“It’s a sad day, but there are lots of other options out there,” she says.
And, after 12 years of running outings, bus driver Judith Cowie is retiring, too. “The group’s not growing, a lot of people have moved away and just getting around is much harder with the traffic now.”
Mrs Hawkings said the trust’s bus would be donated to NorthAble in Whangarei to transport disabled children. She added that the Rodney Charitable Health Trust would continue to loan out health aids, such as shower stools and wheelchairs, and would still be making health-related grants to people in need.
Info: Wendy Hawkings 425 9381