Are you pregnant or have children aged under 4?
Healthy Start Scheme
The Healthy Start scheme provides vouchers 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.
To find out if you're able eligible to apply for the Healthy Start scheme you can use this calculator:
Healthy Start food vouchers are sent out by post every 4 weeks and Healthy Start vitamins voucher every 8 weeks. Head to the Healthy Start website for further information:
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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:
How much are Healthy Start vouchers worth?
From April 2021, the value of the Healthy Start food vouchers will increase 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 spend the vouchers?
Healthy Start vouchers can be spent in any shop that is registered to take part in the scheme. Over 21,000 retail outlets are registered across the UK. Lots of shops accept Healthy Start payments and vouchers, including supermarkets, corner shops, food co-ops, greengrocers, market stalls, milk floats or vans and pharmacies.
Seven major retailers who are members of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce have been helping Healthy Start vouchers go further by providing extra value ahead of the voucher value increasing:
Coop, Central England Coop, and Sainsbury's are still running their offer, with Sainsbury's extending theirs until August. Iceland have confirmed they will also continue to offer a free bag of frozen veg worth £1 per voucher until until 31 August 2021. Here's more information on the offers:
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 Vouchers: