The band played on at Hawera's Ngahuru Rest Home yesterday afternoon but there was no joy in the eyes of staff and guests.
At 2pm a representative from Presbyterian Support Central gathered everyone together, soon after celebrating a 90th birthday for one resident, to inform them that following consultation their home or workplace will indeed close.
PSC had first announced the likelihood of closure on June 12, unless a public proposal could help keep the doors open to save about 30 jobs plus the home of 24 elderly.
Yesterday a PSC release said after the consultation period ended last Wednesday, they had received "no sustainable proposals to improve the current operating position at Ngahuru".
The "substantial operating losses going back a number of years" made the home unsustainable, PSC said.
"This has left the organisation with no option but to close.
"The board and management of PSC are saddened to have had to reach this decision."
The guests' representative, Tay Taylor, 87, said the news was met with "heavy silence".
Volunteer Margaret Evans said the 90-year-old birthday woman described it as being "thrown on the scrapheap".
"The band did play on - what else could they do?"
Many guests have left or made arrangements since the news first broke last month, she said.
"The ones that haven't are the independent living ones, I think they'd been hanging out for hope - about eight of them.
"It's very sad today, not only the residents but the staff - they've all lost their jobs."
PSC told the meeting it was $300,000 short of what was needed to keep Ngahuru afloat, Mrs Evans said.
She and Mrs Taylor were really frustrated the organisation had waited seven years before publicly announcing they were having problems, with closure coming straight after.
"When you're losing money, you do something so that money is contained.
"That's what I can't understand - seven years running a loss, they should have got the shears out and done a bit of trimming."
The closure will also signal the end of the Meals on Wheels service Ngahuru provided to elderly in the community.
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows took charge of a last-minute public bid to try to save Ngahuru, planning to table a proposal by last Wednesday.
"I'm very disappointed they didn't engage more broadly and more fully in a targeted way before it was too late," he said.
PSC said their management team would work closely with Taranaki District Health Board and the Needs Assessment Agency to ensure the transfer of the remaining residents to other Taranaki aged-care facilities.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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