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.
1. Contact your local Salvation Army and ask about the Christmas Cheer Program
2. Seek out which church based organisations are offering Christmas day lunch in your area
3. If don’t want to feel the financial pressure of Christmas Day, consider volunteering your time on Christmas Day to help others
4. Contact your local council, community centre or library to see what free Christmas activities are offered in your area during the Christmas period
5. Visit your local op shop for Christmas supplies
6. If you are considering buying a pet as a gift for Christmas, consider adopting from a rescue centre
7. Buy in bulk and split the cost with friends and/or family members
8. Start buying non-perishable groceries now
9. If you know that there will be non-perishable groceries that you will need for Christmas, buy 2 of them when they are half price, that way you will have one for now and one for Christmas
10. Instead of an expensive hot turkey, consider a non-traditional, southern-hemisphere inspired Christmas Day menu of cold meat and salads
11. As most supermarkets are closed on Christmas Day, pay them a visit the night before right before they close to see what food has been discounted
12. It doesn’t snow this side of the equator on Christmas Day, so take Christmas outside. As an option, suggest that everyone bring a salad or a packet of sausages to cook on the public BBQ at your local park.
13. Instead of trying to buy (or make) a Christmas pudding, consider making a ‘non-traditional’ ice cream cake
14. Consider using accumulated supermarket loyalty points to buy your Christmas food
15. Instead of hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner, consider the cheaper option of a Christmas breakfast (no turkey required)
16. Avoid Christmas hampers that have year-long payment arrangements. You can end up paying a lot more for items compared to if you purchased them outright.
17. Don’t feel pressured to serve ‘traditional’ food at Christmas time. In Japan, it is tradition for around 3.6 million families to get a ‘holiday party bucket’ from KFC on Christmas Eve…
18. Instead of buying a whole turkey, ham or chicken, consider buying separate cuts of meat (e.g. legs, wings, roasts, etc.)
19. Commit to a budget. Draw up a table with who you are buying for and how much you can afford to spend on each person. Do not go over your budget.
20. If the children in your family are getting older, consider the option of a Secret Santa (each person is responsible for only one gift)
21. Take advantage of the extended Christmas shopping hours. There will be less people around, which means you may feel less stressed and rushed
22. Don’t feel pressured by others, or yourself, to buy Christmas presents you cannot afford
23. Wrapping paper can be expensive. Consider newspaper, material, cellophane, brown paper, etc
24. Consider baking cookies or making a Christmas pudding as alternative to buying someone a Christmas present
25. Consider making homemade pickles, jams, preserves and giving them as gifts
26. Only go shopping for Christmas gifts when you know what you want to buy – avoid impulse purchases that are not within your budget
27. Save money on buying Christmas cards by sending your Christmas greetings electronically via email, text or social media
28. If you are creative, try a DIY present – soaps, candles, a knitted scarf, a tie dye t shirt, a photo frame, a painting, etc
29. Consider giving the ‘gift of time’ to someone. Create a coupon book of activities that you could do together in the future (e.g. watching a movie of the other person’s choice)
30. Do not put yourself in financial hardship just so you can buy what others consider to be ‘the most amazing, best Christmas present of 2021’… it will be something completely different by Christmas 2022
31. If you don’t know what to get someone, consider a small charity donation on their behalf
32. Consider giving gift cards instead of actual gifts
33. Avoid the temptation of getting ‘quick, easy’ money through pay day lenders to buy Christmas presents
34. Recycle Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags from previous years
35. Get your children involved by making your own Christmas cards
36. Buy your 2022 Christmas decorations on or after Boxing Day
37. If buying a new Christmas tree is not in your budget this year, consider designing and building your own
38. To give the traditional ‘Christmas tree’ a modern twist, decorate an indoor plant
39. Make your own table decorations – i.e. use a roll of wrapping paper as a table runner or pick foliage from your garden
40. Make your own Christmas stockings by decorating old pillow cases
41. Use newspaper and craft paint to make a home-made Christmas garland
42. Choose solar Christmas lights over electric
43. Do not put yourself in debt trying to make your house look like something you saw online. You don’t need to make people believe that you live in a European, snow covered cottage…
44. Are you a casual employee and does your work place close over Christmas? Make sure that you have funds saved up to cover essential living expenses over the Christmas break.
45. Do not put yourself into financial hardship for the sake of others. If you cannot afford to attend a Christmas function, it is ok to politely decline the invitation.
46. It is inevitable that there will be people out there that will spend more/less than you at Christmas. Remember to work within your budget this Christmas
47. The weather at Christmas time can be extremely hot. Consider doing a home energy audit on your air conditioner/cooling system to see the amount of electricity it uses and what it is costing you
48. For Christmas 2022, consider putting money away each fortnight into a separate bank account
49. Create a Christmas spending budget and keep track of food, presents, decorations, etc
50. Try to avoid using the money you would spend on essential living expenses (rent, electricity, etc) to pay for Christmas. This will catch up with you when Christmas is over.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
An emu up a gum tree?!
It feels like the Christmas season starts earlier every year, with shops, online stores and businesses putting up decorations and holding promotions in the months leading up to Christmas day. But, did you know that the Christmas season and the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day itself?
The 12 days of Christmas is the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).
The 12 Days of Christmas song that most of us are familiar with comes from an English composer named Frederic Austin. In 1909, he set the melody and lyrics (including changing 'colly' to 'calling') and added as his own flourish, the drawn-out cadence of 'five go-old rings'. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children's book called 'Mirth With-out Mischief'.
Learn more about the history of the '12 days of Christmas' in this interesting article: https://www.vox.com/21796404/12-days-of-christmas-explained
Australian lyrics of the 12 Days of Christmas: https://www.thechristmastreefarm.com.au/australian-12-days-of-christmas-lyrics/
It’s Christmas Day – time to spend time with family and friends. To be honest, I’m not even sure why you are reading this? Go, get off your phone or computer and enjoy Christmas.
If you're alone this Christmas for any reason, take a moment to pick up a phone and connect with a friend or family member.
If you don't have access to a phone or wi-fi, all Telstra pay phones are free to use over Christmas till New Years Day: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-23/telstra-payphones-made-free-for-christmas/13009548 - This includes Telstra Air wi-fi access points.
Here's some tips from the ABC if you're in isolation or alone on Christmas Day: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/tips-for-spending-christmas-alone/100004504
Lifeline provides a 24/7 helpline for crisis support and suicide prevention on 13 11 14.
From all of us at Affordable SA, we wish you a safe and very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for 2021
Where does the time go? Only 7 Days until Christmas!
Time to pick-up last-minute gifts and prepare for celebrations with family and friends. There’s presents to wrap, food to make and lots and lots of little jobs that can make it a very busy time.
The tricky thing about the festive season is that life doesn’t stop. Your real estate agent will still direct debit your rental payment, your electricity company will still want your quarterly bill paid and your telco company will still demand your BPay payment on a set day of the month.
With the added expense of Christmas, the end of the year can put a lot of pressure on people’s financial situation and unfortunately here on the Affordable SA helpline we tend to see the aftermath at the start of the new year.
Being part of the billion-dollar Christmas debt hangover is no way to start the New Year. If you are struggling with your expenses call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to speak to a Financial Counsellor.
You can also find a range of programs that can help here:
Food for Christmas
Have you got enough food for you and your family this Christmas?
There's still time to access food pantries and emergency relief, but be quick as services may be closed, providing limited service or have different hours during the Christmas and New Year period.
A food pantry offers free or low cost food and groceries to the community. Find a local Food Pantry here:
You can find local, emergency relief here:
You can also call the Affordable SA helpline to be connected to services near you that can help. Call the helpline on 1800 025 539
A Christmas Together
It's also an important time to check in on people you know who may be experiencing loneliness or hardship.
Spare a thought for your elderly neighbour who lives alone, your friend who is experiencing financial hardship, your relative who is going through a separation or your co-worker who is struggling with depression.
If you know someone who finds this time of year especially difficult, consider reaching out to them to show that you are thinking of them.
If you or someone you know finds this time of year especially difficult, services such as Lifeline are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take your call on 13 11 14
Have a Merry Christmas South Australia
From everyone at Affordable SA, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021!