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Healthy start vouchers

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A voucher scheme which helps give pregnant women and families on low incomes a healthy start will be given a financial boost next month.

From April 1, the value of healthy start vouchers will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 per week.

The vouchers are a public health initiative designed to help people buy healthy food and gain a healthy start and is managed locally by Dudley Council.

The vouchers can used to buy fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried or tinned pulses, plain cow’s milk and infant formula.

Mothers to be can also claim free vitamins from participating pharmacies during their pregnancy and when baby is born.

To claim healthy start vouchers, claimants need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child aged under four.

They must also be in receipt of either income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, child tax credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year, pension credit, universal credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family.

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

This is an important initiative to help mothers-to-be and families on low incomes cover the cost of those everyday healthy essentials and to think about how they can achieve a healthier lifestyle.
I’d urge anyone who thinks they might be eligible to go online and check to ensure they are not missing out on their heathy start.

Karen Wright, director of public health at Dudley Council, said:

Public health welcomes this development. We urge women who receive the vouchers to swap these for healthy foods such as fruit and vegetable or milk, pregnancy or breastfeeding vitamins or vitamins for children aged six months to five years old. The healthy start scheme is there to help give children the best start in life.

Those who are not eligible for the scheme are able to buy vitamins from selected pharmacies at a discounted price.

For more information on the healthy start scheme and how to apply go to www.healthystart.nhs.uk

For more information on health and wellbeing go to www.lets-get.com

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