Vouchers to help low income families buy healthy food are available to give their children a good start in life.
The Healthy Start vouchers help women on certain benefits who are either at least 10-weeks pregnant or have children under four, to buy milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables or vitamins from local Healthy Start retailers. Pregnant women under the age of 18 who are not on benefits also qualify for vouchers and Healthy Start vitamins are also available for eligible women and children.
Depending on where you use your Healthy Start voucher you could potentially get a pack of bananas, a pack of apples and a bottle of milk, every week.
Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: “Too many vouchers are going unclaimed in Tameside. It’s important that we introduce healthy and nutritious feeding/eating for babies and children which supports healthier food choices in later life.
“Eating healthily, especially for children at the start of their life, can have a positive impact on their physical and cognitive development. By having and embedding a healthy and nutritious diet, the risk of developing diseases and illnesses caused by unhealthy food such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes is reduced significantly.”
Applying for Healthy Start is easy, many professionals (such as community and voluntary groups, foodbanks, housing, childcare, health and social care professionals) can support you to complete your application if you need help to do so. If you already have an application leaflet just fill out the form inside, ask your GP, nurse, midwife or health visitor to sign it and then simply send it to Heathy Start using the freepost envelope attached to the leaflet.
If you don't have an application form you can find one on the Healthy Start website at https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/how-to-apply/. They use information from your tax credits and benefits claims to check you qualify so make sure all your details (including your address) are up to date.
Upon receipt of your application form, if you have filled it in correctly, had it signed-off by a healthcare professional, and Healthy Start can confirm with HMRC Tax Credits or the Department for Work and Pensions that you qualify, you should receive your vouchers within two weeks.
The vouchers can be spent at shops who’ve registered to accept receipt of them. Look out for the Healthy Start sticker in the shop’s window or ask inside. To find a shop near you visit https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/where-to-use-the-vouchers/