The Adelaide Hills region of Mount Barker has boasted some of the largest population increases in the state over the last few years. This explosion of population creates a whole lot of issues regarding the facilities and new services needed to keep pace with this ever expanding suburban sprawl. Like many regions that are on the fringes of Adelaide, the associated social support services that provide for people in need and in financial stress become stretched to the limit and facilities as well as new ideas are needed to match the growth of the town and to assist people to be able to help themselves.
Over the last few years the local Mount Barker community and Church groups have been making available more basic support services to cater for the growing number of people struggling with cost of living issues. Emergency Relief and Free Fresh Food Markets are regularly available through the Salvation Army in Fletcher street with many other forms of assistance such as meals and basic provisions coming from the Uniting, Baptist and Anglican Churches as well as the local Community Centre. These Church groups extend a welcoming and non judgmental hand of help to their community.
There are Government funded services and programs to help those experiencing homelessness in Mount Barker but despite the previous growth in private housing there is little or no homeless shelters available in the area. The lack of basic facilities such as showers and toilet facilities makes it even harder for people needing to sleep rough.
One Voice, the blue mobile shower and toilet van which can be seen throughout Adelaide has now taken the drive up the hill to bring their service to those in need. One Voice in partnership with the Church Groups in Mount Barker will help to provide a regular connection point for the mobile toilet and shower facility. You can find the Mount Barker times and dates for the van in the Affordable SA App and website linked below.
These showers should be considered just a start to providing more of the basics for those experiencing homelessness as there is a lot more to do regarding accessing a safe place to sleep for those in a vulnerable position in our Hills and beyond.
The Orange Sky mobile laundry and One Voice mobile showers have been operating around Adelaide for several years providing much needed services for people sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness. Each service works in conjunction with many community centres, church groups and agencies such as The Salvation Army, Vinnies, ADRA Anglicare and Fred's Food Van.
Both Orange Sky and One Voice have now come together to provide a complete joint service at The Salvation Army Marion. Each Friday morning from 10am till 12 noon, Orange Sky and One Voice meet up in the Salvo's carpark and once a month are joined by a volunteer hair stylist.
Fridays are a busy time at the Marion Salvos with the Op shop in full swing and the Salvos kitchen busy getting ready for the free community lunch for people in need and doing it tough. It is also an opportunity for those experiencing hardship to connect with community programs and services such as Financial Counselling and emergency relief workers available in The Salvation Army building. This new partnership helps to provide a wider range of basic services available at the site, maximising the assistance available.
Of course these services aren't possible without the friendly volunteers pictured. Volunteers Racheal, Dan, Dave and Ron from Orange Sky Mobile Laundry with Cliff and Marlene from One Voice mobile showers. Danise, a self employed hairdresser also donates her services one a month. Not only are these volunteers well trained for their tasks and operating the vans but are equally good at listening.
As the year gets under way the kids will soon be looking to sign up for sports and dance. Uniforms, equipment and fees can sometimes be that expense that is hard to find and kids often miss out.
Make sure you're kids are not missing out on the healthy benefits and friendships of sport and dance.
The SA Government Sports Voucher is available to all primary school children aged from reception to year 7. You can claim one voucher for each eligible child per calendar year and many sporting teams are set up to claim the vouchers directly when paying for sports fees.
All forms of Dance is now included and the SA Government has agreed to continue the program till 2021-2022.
There are many ideas for staying cool and saving on expensive utilities bills if you have your own house. When you are renting it is hard to make the changes to problem areas of the home necessary to effectively reduce your costs.
"The Renters Guide to Saving Money" helps people renting to look consider what changes they can make to save money and life sustainably and how to negotiate with landlords for a reasonable outcome.
The booklet is biased towards the East Coast of Australia but many of the practical ideas are still worthy of exploration. Concessions and laws may vary between states so it is worth checking.
Merry Christmas from the Affordable SA Team.
Photo of Karyn Hick's Handmade Christmas Snowmen. Made from sawn sticks and hot glue.
Karyn won the Affordable SA Bring Christmas to your desktop challenge.
It's almost time.
One more sleep and I can't wait to count that sheep.
Hope you all have a great Christmas
Today is a shout out to those who will over this holiday period sacrifice their time with family and friends to attend fires and emergencies.
The volunteers of the CFS and SES are always on alert over the break. In many parts of South Australia Christmas time is a time of high alert particularly with expected high temperatures. The tragedies of past seasons means that the emergency services always estimate their numbers of available volunteers if needed. Even the support groups such as The Salvation Army Catering volunteers needed to feed this army carefully examine the weather over the holiday period to ready themselves.
All these volunteers need the understanding and support of their families to do what they need to do usually at the most inopportune time.
Hopefully the season will go by without incident and volunteers enjoy the time at home. That in itself would be a blessing.
Our communities in rural and remote areas of South Australia effected by the drought will do it tough this Christmas. Many do not have the money for a Christmas meal.
Access to drought support which has been operating in NSW and Queensland has now been opened up to South Australian communities suffering hardship because of the drought. Up to $3000 per household, including up to $2000 to help pay the bills and $1000 in vouchers, will be some welcome relief this Christmas and provide immediate assistance to around 10 000 farming households facing hardship as well as the fragile community of farm workers and farm contract suppliers that rely on the land.
Claiming expenses can include grocery bills, vehicle maintenance, school & education expenses, energy & utility bills, health & medical expenses etc but its not just the financial assistance that is needed. The local charity organisations that have been part of these communities for many years will help to deliver the financial assistance as well as compassionate help through this devastating time.
Three charity organisations will be tasked to provide the assistance to people in rural areas who are facing hardship during the drought. Rural and remote staff based in these communities from St Vincent de Paul, Rotary Australia World Community Service and The Salvation Army will be tasked to deliver this drought assistance. Many are long time trusted community members and are the familiar face can help make the difference with isolated communities suffering hardship.
Contact for assistance is as simple as ringing 1300 327 624 or filling in an online form which can take 5 minutes. See attached.
People are also encouraged to reach out to their local support services such as Emergency Relief and organisations listed on Affordable SA that can provide more personal support other than financial.
Tragically and historically, the Christmas holiday period sees a large increase in domestic violence issues across Australia. This year we have seen the most appalling statistics of deaths of women through domestic violence by men and brace ourselves for what could be more tragedy over what we should consider a time of peace, good will and family.
Affordable SA would like to acknowledge the Zahra Foundation for their work throughout the year in helping Domestic Violence issues. Our Intake Workers and Financial Counsellors say that in South Australia, Zahra is the most referred to for clients experiencing domestic violence issues and the financial hardship associated with domestic Violence.
Governments fund agencies to respond to issues but organisations like Zahra have the personal mission which is needed to make inroads into the awareness and action against the effects of domestic violence against women. They are very active in the South Australian community as well as having specialist counsellors dealing with particularly difficult and legally challenging domestic violence issues. This includes specialist financial counsellors who deal with the wider aspects of financial debt as a result of an abusive partner.
A lot of domestic violence issues stem from financial problems, and the combination of alcohol and hardship is the main ingredient in so many cases of domestic violence and ongoing financial and abusive problems for families. Christmas and football grand finals are the recognised worst times of the year.
Many women have been left with huge credit card and loan debts by their partner who has access to the personal documents needed to create online credit applications. There is also an example of where someone has purchased a large amount of phones in their partner's name leaving large debt for their partner and profit for them when sold. A financial counsellor can help negotiate solutions to many financial debt scenarios but the issue of financial abuse of a partner via online needs to be addressed with proper regulation.
The Banks over recent years have developed a number of domestic violence packages that may assist someone who has been given bad credit debt by their partner. Many feel vulnerable with the threat of separation and ongoing debt and will sometimes disclose domestic violence for the first time when ringing in relation to needing assistance with financial issues.
There is also the 1800 Respect 24/7 hotline (1800 737 732) to assist with domestic violence and a number of other agencies who provide more localised assistance. There are several Apps or websites to discreetly help women find more information. See the Affordable SA website https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/domestic-violence for more information regarding financial assistance for Domestic Violence. If there is an immediate threat of violence you should always ring 000.
We see many campaigns attempting to create a zero tolerance policy in regards to road deaths over Christmas. Police will be out again in great numbers actively testing and with a huge public presence over this holiday period. These deaths on the road are mostly accidents or poor road behaviour but the death of a women due to domestic violence is where a zero tolerance is desperately needed.
The Zahra Foundation and their project partners have made a big difference. To that we sing their praises. They are able to deal with every aspect of domestic violence from the immediate support needed to get out of a situation to the legal and financial assistance for victims. They have saved lives and helped to restore self confidence in those effected by domestic violence.