HEALTHY START

Intro

Are you pregnant or have children aged under 4?

Body

Healthy Start Scheme

The Healthy Start scheme provides funds to support pregnant women or those with children aged under 4. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you may be able to claim free vouchers, or payments every 4 weeks to spend on:

  • Fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • Cow’s milk
  • Infant formula milk
  • You can also get free Healthy Start vitamins.

The current paper voucher scheme is due to be phased out at the end of March 2022 when it will be replaced by a prepaid card. The prepaid card will be topped up with funds every 4 weeks. Healthy Start vitamin vouchers will also be phased out. You’ll just need to show a healthcare professional your card to collect your free Healthy Start vitamins, with no money taken from your card. You can find your nearest vitamin distributor on the NHS website.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll receive a letter with further instructions on how to claim your free Healthy Start vitamins. Head to the Healthy Start website for further information:

Healthy Start NHS Website

To find out if you're able eligible to apply for the Healthy Start scheme you can use this calculator:

The government recently temporarily extended the Healthy Start scheme to British children whose parent or guardian are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of their immigration status (No Recourse to Public Funds) and meet the scheme's eligibility criteria. To find out if you are eligible email: 

Healthystartclaim@dhsc.gov.uk

If you live in Scotland the equivalent scheme is called Best Start Foods. See if you’re eligible and apply here:

Best Start Foods Eligibility

How much does Healthy Start provide?

Since April 2021 the value of the Healthy Start increased from £3.10 to £4.25. If you qualify you get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

Where can I use the card? 

You can use your card anywhere that accepts Mastercard® and sells the eligible healthy start food items. Lots of shops accept Healthy Start payment, including supermarkets, corner shops, food co-ops, greengrocers, market stalls, milk floats or vans and pharmacies.

Full Time Meals

We don’t want anybody in this country to go hungry – especially kids. Marcus Rashford has teamed up with chef Tom Kerridge to create Full Time Meals.

The recipes will help fill hungry tummies. It’s that simple. We want to help give children and families the skills and confidence to cook good, proper food in their own kitchens, using the equipment available to them.

Some of the ingredients needed to cook the Full Time meals are available to buy using Healthy Start funds:

Full Time Meals