Healthy Start Scheme- Update November 2020

Healthy Start provides young pregnant women and low-income families with children under the age of 4 in England with free vitamins and food vouchers to purchase vegetables, fruit, pulses and cows’ milk.  From April 2021 the value of the Healthy Start vouchers will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 per week for families eligible for the scheme.

Retailers are beginning to recognise their role in supporting the scheme, for example, Iceland is offering a free bag of frozen veg to all families using Healthy Start vouchers in their stores. Tesco and various Co-op branches will also add an additional £1 to all healthy start vouchers used in-store across the winter.

Unfortunately the digitalisation of the Healthy Start scheme that was due to launch in October 2020 has been delayed until October 2021. This means that there are still challenges for families with applying for the scheme which still requires a physical form to be posted. This also means the number of stores that the vouchers can be used in is limited; currently there are 45 stores across Luton that accept the vouchers.

Since COVID 19 we have seen an increase in the number of families eligible for the scheme however uptake of the scheme remains low meaning that approximately 1500 families in Luton are missing out on the scheme. Opportunities to promote the scheme through Flying Start children’s centre has reduced and we will be looking for new ways to increase uptake of the Healthy Start scheme, including working with professionals, retailers and community organisations to promote the scheme.

All services working with pregnant women and families with children under 4yrs can help promote the scheme and support families with applications. To order application forms to be sent free visit: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/for-health-professionals/healthy-start-resources/

Healthy Start Vitamins

Healthy Start Vitamins are available from some Children Centre sites at select times and parents need to call ahead to advise they are coming. To find out where and when vitamins can be collected see the Flying Start Children Centre timetable available here: https://www.flyingstartluton.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Flying-Start-Childrens-Centre-Timetable-NovDec-2020-1.pdf

To find out more about the Healthy Start scheme or to organise a short staff training session on the scheme contact louise.morrissey@luton.gov.uk

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