The Healthy Start voucher scheme has been launched in Derby. Families on low salaries with young children can now receive free vouchers to spend on fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and infant formula.
The purpose of the scheme is to help give children the best start in life by setting patterns of healthy eating right from the start. It has been proved that poor diet in children has a huge impact on future health and can lead to obesity and lack of performance.
The scheme, which replaces the old Welfare Food Scheme, was road-tested in Devon and Cornwall this year and deemed a great success.
To qualify for Healthy Start vouchers, families must be expecting a baby or have a child under four years of age, and:
- are receiving Income Support, or
- are receiving income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- receiving Child Tax Credit and have an annual family income of less than £14,155, or
- are pregnant and under 18 years of age
Families that fit the above criteria will qualify for the new vouchers as follows:
- pregnant women get one voucher a week worth £2.80.
- for each baby under the age of one, the family gets two vouchers a week worth a total of £5.60
- for each child aged over one and under four, the family gets one voucher a week worth £2.80
Helen Dean, Infant Feeding Coordinator for Derby City Primary Care Trust, says: “The introduction of this scheme will be useful for young breastfeeding mothers on low income. The vouchers can be exchanged for fresh fruit and vegetables to encourage healthy eating, not only for themselves but also for their baby when they start to introduce weaning foods at around six months of age.”
Sheila McFarlane, Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator for Derby, said: “Many pregnant young women under the age of 18 are in education or training and therefore do not have much money. This voucher scheme will be welcomed by them as it gives them the chance to offer their children healthy food and good start to life opportunities.”
Healthy Start’s website has downloadable application forms, as well as recipes, frequently asked questions and true-life tales. To find out more, please visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk
Ben Haynes, Communications Officer, on 01332 224000 ext 6341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org