Life takes an unexpected turn - Affordable SA

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14 September, 2018

Many of us will go through financial problems at some stage in our lives. Some will waiver in and out of financial stress on a regular basis and most people are only one life-changing event away from hardship.

There are so many uncontrollable life events that can send us into financial hardship. South Australians in recent years have been subjected to a changing workplace environment with industries winding down or transitioning. The cost of utilities such as power and water has skyrocket to record heights.

The more personal scenarios we see are family breakdowns. Divorce and separation can be both emotionally and financial difficult. Domestic Violence. Problem gambling is still a huge burden in the community or a partner who leaves you with a hefty share of uncontrollable debt through credit cards and bad financial loans.

Our health too plays an important part in managing our lifestyle. Serious illness can strike anyone and the cost of care along with changing employment or income due to illness can quickly impact of your ability to maintain lifestyle and can send a financial shock wave through your life.

Not many of us are well prepared for life’s curve balls and seeking help can seem confusing or as confronting as the issue itself. Most service providers now understand that maintaining dignity and confidentiality can be just as important as providing the service, and the more people know and can self manage the more in control they can feel. More control means less stress and the sooner you seek help the less likely debt will accumulate.

The Affordable SA Program is at hand to support and empower you to make informed decisions and connect you easily and readily to valuable independent, confidential and free services in your area.

The Affordable SA Program can be accessed at,, or is free to download through Apple and Google search 'AffordableSA'. 

Affordable SA also is supported through a Helpline service 9.30am to 8pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 4.30pm Fridays its a free call 1800 036 539.

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Low cost school holiday activities

Keeping the kids occupied this school holidays without constantly shelling out dollar after dollar for entertainment can be difficult.  

Matching the energy and momentum of kids during the holidays will either be joyous or quickly fall into torturous organisational mayhem with parents constantly juggling home and work to manage young children. For some families it can be an expensive entertainment quest they can well do without.

Some of the best places to find low cost activities for young kids during the holiday season are your local Public Library, Community Centre and Community Gardens. From Lego construction and fun craft activities to gaming and learning new tech, there are a host of school holiday programs to keep the kids minds engaged or at the very least amused. 

The image of the thin-lipped librarian with strict code of quiet and diligence has transformed with the push to bring the libraries back to the public eye and use. Many sceptics predicted the library with its printed collection as going the same way as an aging postal service that fails to keep pace with technology or new enterprise. Some of the big libraries and centres have met this challenge by exploring how and what people want or use and giving them more of what they want. Most modern libraries have made the transition and you can find a wide range of people on the computer terminals researching, or after school kids just gaming amongst an around the clock host of activities. More importantly a library card comes with access from home to professional online tutorials, ebooks, video and music downloads - all part of every library throughout the state. During the holidays they have an enormous range of activities for young minds.

The huge increase in Community Gardens has provided a great meeting place whilst providing entertainment for kids. In SA there were around 40 in 2012 and that number has grown to hundreds. These gardens have taken over as a modern day kids club where stay at home mums and dads can gather and collectively keep the kids occupied whilst having a grown up chat and literally watch the grass or veggies grow. Sometimes a collective of parents is just what you need to ease the constant guardianship of being a watchful modern super parent. Who knows the kids might even find a worm or two to eat and you can watch and debate if that’s OK or not. 

Community Centres offer a wide range of activities for youth or slightly older children as well as adult education, physical fitness, community meals or well-being and self-development programs. Some of the larger centres in the North and South have such a myriad of clubs and activities associated and can even offer employment assistance and access to the wider service agencies that provide such things as emergency relief, financial counselling or cost of living assistance. These super centres have many activities each day over the holidays and whilst the kids are busy you can take part in something yourself.

So why not consider taking the kids down to the local community centre or library, or if the weather is good and you’re feeling like an afternoon in the garden check out what’s growing around your local area. Already the school activity programs are filling up fast and for the more popular events it’s worth jumping online straight away and booking. It could be a low cost way of not only engaging the kids or sparking an interest but expanding your own brain as well.


Financial Certainty for Women

Women have been unfairly disadvantaged compared to men for many years in regards to financial security. Financial inequality has led to many years of disadvantage for women especially in the area of earning capacity with no chance of early retirement or better wealth generation used for coping with aging needs later in life. Affordable SA, as part of the community support services, we see that it is mostly the women who initiate the first step forward to ask for assistance or to learn better ways of improving their family’s financial well-being. 

Women could benefit from an opportunity to better understand and gain practical assistance in the management of their finances at an earlier stage in life or if a financial crisis appears on the horizon so that their financial future can be more secure and the factors surrounding the life events (planned or unplanned) may have less of a financial impact on their future,

From 9-13th September in Mount Gambier there is a range of workshops focusing on the financial well-being of Women and how best to learn what to look for or avoid the common problems women face in securing their financial future. “Financial Literacy for Women” has presentations by a range of experienced professionals who will take you through the steps to becoming more financially adept and considering yourself first on your financial radar with topics such as:

Financial Literacy Workshop for women – Don’t Forget Your Super.

Money Planning and Budgeting that works.

Insurance that is right for you. Loans

Getting ready for retirement and Super

Understanding Retirement Income Streams

The workshops are organised by the Financial Literacy for Women

Also worth checking out is ASICS money smart website that has a range of tools, tips and content to help deal with life events that affect Women’s financial well-being. Topics ranging from taking care of your family to paying for your children’s education as well as Planning for Your Retirement

Times are changing slowly but it still requires women to take control and make the most of their own finances to really make a measurable difference.

To find out more check out the events on the Affordable SA webpage, app or facebook. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial difficulties and are not able to attend the workshops in Mount Gambier remember the Affordable SA Program is at hand to support and empower you to make informed decisions and connect you easily and readily to valuable independent, confidential and free services in your area. 

The Affordable SA Program can be accessed at,, or is free to download through Apple and Google search 'AffordableSA'. Affordable SA also is supported through a Helpline service 9.30am to 8pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 4.30pm Fridays its a free call 1800 036 539.


The Australian Red Cross in regional S.A.

Transport is one of the big issues in the regional and remote areas of South Australia. Without transport people are not only physically isolated but also suffer from social isolation, loneliness or lack the ability to access community assistance such as basic food relief and medical attention. Many of these vital services are restricted to the larger centres and people struggling with cost of living problems in regional areas can find distance a huge barrier in gaining help.

The Australian Red Cross have a range of services and transport provision in regional areas that aim to benefit people isolated by distance or by circumstance to maintain their social connections and gain access to the types of services well beyond what a small town can provide. 

Programs such as the Red Cross’s Medi-ride provides transport for medical appointments from small towns to bigger centres and even to Adelaide for a reasonable cost. Around $60 for a return trip to Adelaide and $7.50 for more local transport needs. These shuttles operate across the regions of South Australia and are part of the Community Transport Network listed in the Affordable SA App.

The Australian Red Cross Transport Program also helps young people with disability get to and from school and provides for special needs of people over 65 or over 50 if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

With typical country manner all the support agencies in regional towns work in total symphony with each other often sharing office spaces and value adding with a highly collaborative approach to maximise the help provided to any one client. This close working relationship and the elimination of the transport issue means that people coming in from regional areas can have multiple appointments with several agencies before returning home which could be several hours away.

Recent issues raised on Affordable SA social media, highlighted the plight of several struggling families without transportation in Peterborough needing to access the Food Bank hub in Port Pirie. After contacting the services provided by The Australian Red Cross transport listed on the Affordable SA App, volunteers now load Food Bank fresh food hampers into vehicles used for regular service routes for the return trip to Peterborough. More volunteers deliver the packages directly to families and to other agencies in the area. Another great example of how country agencies help each other to get the job done.

Graeme Hinckley from Affordable SA spoke with Rebecca Cunningham, Regional Manager of the Australian Red Cross Northern Region to find out about the range of services the Australian Red Cross provides to help isolated residents in South Australian regional areas. Listen to the full interview about the Australian Red Cross Transport Programs and other services for regional South Australians.