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Financial support to give young children a healthy start

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Eligible parents of young children are encouraged to apply for free financial support worth hundreds of pounds to spend on milk, fruit and vegetables

The NHS Healthy Start initiative supports parents with at least one child under the age of 4, who are on a qualifying benefit and a low income. The scheme is also open to mothers-to-be who fit these criteria.

Healthy Start payments can be spent on milk, baby formula, fruit and vegetables and also allows parents to collect free vitamins from selected pharmacies and shops.

The scheme is introducing a prepaid card to be used for purchasing these items, to replace the current paper vouchers. This card can be used at any shop that sells these products and accepts Mastercard payments.

Online applications for the new cards are open until Thursday 10 March. Parents who currently receive paper vouchers have been urged to apply for a card before this date to avoid any delays in receiving payment.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

Healthy Start is a wonderful initiative which helps cover the cost of everyday healthy essentials for those on low incomes.
I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for the scheme to go online and apply for this valuable financial support before the deadline.

Parents who are eligible will receive £4.25 per week from the tenth week of their pregnancy, then £8.50 per week after birth until their child’s first birthday. They will then receive £4.25 each week until their child turns 4.

For more details on the NHS Healthy Start scheme and guidance on how to apply, please visit

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