PEOPLE POWER: Terrigal 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre president Merv Lane reckons it's the people involved, as well as a change of name, that have seen membership double in just four years.
PEOPLE POWER: Terrigal 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre president Merv Lane reckons it's the people involved, as well as a change of name, that have seen membership double in just four years.

50+ Club doubles membership

HOW does membership of a 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre double in just four years?

Terrigal president Merv Lane believes it's partly the club's change of name from senior citizens club, which has opened the door to younger members.

"People have different ideas of what 'Senior' means, so 50+ allows everyone to know exactly who we are aiming at," he said.

But it also comes down to the fantastic bunch of people involved in the management committee, volunteers, members and centre assistant, as well as the great range of activities and the meals provided.

The result is a membership of 1100 in 2017 and 77 new members already registered by mid-February.

"People say it has an atmosphere about it they don't experience anywhere else," Merv said.

Classes run from 7am to 3.30pm, with private hirers using the venue right through to 9pm.

"We encourage people who may be isolated in their homes to become engaged with us," Merv said.

He cited the case of one gentleman who had lost his wife a few years ago and was now involved in several activities and had most of his lunches at the centre.

"That's not uncommon," he said, adding that the most expensive meal was just $6, including tea or coffee.

"Last year we had 36,500 people pass through the doors and the kitchen provided 14,000 meals."

The activities offered have also become, well, more active, with darts and table tennis making way for yoga, Zumba, jazz and rock and roll dancing, self-defence, indoor bowls and meditation, as well as fortnightly Thursday entertainment, which Merv said often had people up on the dance floor.

Merv and his wife joined the centre on moving to the Central Coast in 2010.

Shortly afterwards he was asked to be scrutineer at the AGM, and walked out the door as Senior Vice President, later becoming president.

Admittedly, he had a pretty good CV to take on the leadership role, having retired as Superintendent of the NSW Traffic Services branch after 40 years on the police force.

His greatest achievement, he said, was helping to introduce RBTs from December 1982, which helped cut the road toll from an incredible peak of 1384 in 1978, to where it is today.

That's despite the huge increase in car ownership and traffic which has occurred over that time.

"Roads and car safety have improved, and we've much better awareness of road safety in general, but it gives me great satisfaction to think I played a part in saving lives," Merv said.

Membership of Terrigal 50+ Leisure and Learning Centre is just $5 per year, with classes ranging from $2 to $5.

Call 43845152, email terrigal50plus@outlook.com, find them on Facebook or the web, or visit the centre on the corner of Duffy's Rd and Terrigal Dr.


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