Access to food vouchers made easier

Access to food vouchers made easier

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:18pm 27th April 2020.

It's being made easier for young families on low incomes and pregnant women in Dorset to access food vouchers.

The Healthy Start scheme is run by NHS England.

It provides vouchers for pregnant women and families with a child under four years old on a low income to buy basic food items.

During COVID-19, families applying to the service no longer need to get the application signed by a health professional.

child holding bread eating

Counsellor Laura Miller is Dorset Council's Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, she says: 

"If families are struggling to get milk and fresh fruit and vegetables, please take advantage of the scheme. 

"Please ask your health visitor or midwife about the scheme and for an application form or go to the Healthy Start website or helpline directly to apply."

Information about the scheme and how to apply can be found online or by calling the national helpline on 0345 607 6823 where families can also apply.

It offers:

  • pregnant women and children over one and under four years old a £3.10 voucher per week
  • children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.
Photo of pregnant mum with child

The vouchers can be spent with local retailers to buy:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose
  • cow’s milk-based infant formula milk (stage one) that says it can be used from birth.
  • Women and children receiving the vouchers can also get vitamin coupons to swap for free Healthy Start vitamins.
glass of milk

The following residents can claim Healthy Start vouchers:

Women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old and you or your family get:

  • 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; or Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family.
  • Women who are under 18 and pregnant can also claim even if they don’t get any of the above benefits.

 Women and children can get vitamin vouchers to swap for Healthy Start vitamins.