Healthy Start scheme
The NHS' Healthy Start scheme has gone digital, meaning you'll receive a prepaid card instead of paper vouchers.
If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four, you may be eligible for Healthy Start and entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.
You can also use your card to collect the following.
- Healthy Start vitamins - these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Vitamin drops for babies and young children - these are suitable from birth to four years old.
Along with being more than 10 weeks pregnant or having a child under the age of four, you must also be receiving any of the following to be eligible.
- Child Tax Credit (only if your family's annual income is £16,190 or less)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
- Universal Credit (only if your family's take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)
You'll also be eligible for Healthy Start if:
- you're under 18 and pregnant, even if you aren't claiming any benefits
- you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
- you, your partner or your carer get Working Tax Credit run-on only after you've reported you're working 16 hours or less per week.
With the change to digital, anyone who has accessed Healthy Start previously will need to reapply through the NHS website and you should receive a letter to invite you to swap over.
Once you receive a prepaid card through the scheme, you'll need to call: 0300 330 7010 and then press option one. This will take you to an automated service, which will take a couple of minutes to go through.
A set of frequently asked questions are also available on the NHS website, including the change to digital, how to apply, how to use the card, where to access vitamins and more.
The Live Well Cheshire West website has a range of information and advice about extra support for children and families.
The Starting Well website also has useful resources for people aged up to 19 and children's centre groups, including let's play and breastfeeding groups.