The NHS have launched a £1m nationwide campaign to provide food vouchers for healthy food to low income households with a pregnant woman or children under the age of 4.
Full details can be viewed here: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
Those eligible can get free vouchers or payments every 4 weeks to spend on:
- cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
- infant formula milk
- fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
- Young families can also get free Healthy Start vitamins.
South Kesteven District Councillor Charmaine Morgan said: “Millions of people in the UK are living below the poverty line. An estimated 14m people were struggling before Covid19 and Brexit.
“It is hugely concerning that less than half of those eligible to apply for the food vouchers available in Lincolnshire have done so.
“This is by no means a total solution but every initiative helps. Funding has been cut from Public Health budget and so those eligible should grab this opportunity while they can.”
The NHS website provides full details of who can apply and the application form link is provided. It also has access to Frequently Asked Questions including details of which local shops and pharmacists accept the vouchers.
The following householders can apply:
You must be at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have at least one child that’s under 4.
In addition, you must be receiving any of the following:
- Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
- Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)
You will also be eligible for Healthy Start if:
you’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
you or your partner get Working Tax Credit run-on only. (Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the 4 weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week)
To find out if your family earns £408 or less per month from employment whilst claiming Universal Credit, look at your ‘take-home pay for this period’ on your monthly Universal Credit award notice.
In order to apply for the vouchers a paper form must be completed.
The form is available via the following link. Healthy Start application form (PDF: 86KB) (opens in a new tab)
It must printed off and posted. The postal address is:
Healthy Start Issuing Unit
PO Box 1067
If you don’t have access to a printer you can call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823 and they will post a form to you.
If anyone needs help completing the form please contact the NHS helpline or local organisation. Sure Start in Swingbridge Road, Grantham is participating in the scheme exchanging vouchers for vitamins.
Local councillors, nurseries, schools and organisations working with young families are all encouraged to help promote the scheme.