Local families miss out on thousands of pounds in unclaimed healthy food vouchers

Can you be part of a city-wide campaign targeting three out of ten eligible families in Brighton and Hove who are missing out on up to £900 per child? 

Healthy Start vouchers (based on the old ‘milk vouchers’) help parents who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have children under four, and who receive certain benefits.  The vouchers, worth at least £3.10 per week, can be used for milk and fresh or frozen fruit and veg, plus free vitamins 

For families on a budget, the cost of healthy food can be a massive barrier to eating well. Yet so many people are missing out on these vouchers simply because they don’t know about them. We are asking everyone in the city to support this campaign by telling someone they know about the vouchers, displaying a poster or joining in the social media campaign. 

To apply for the vouchers, families need to complete a simple application form, and have it signed by their midwife, health visitor, nurse or GP*. The forms and details of benefits eligibility are available online or can be picked up at any of the city’s Children’s Centres 

*UPDATE: During the COVID-19 crisis this signature is not required.

Anyone can download a colourful A4 poster. Organisations working with children and families can also request a free short training session for their staff or volunteers or a bunch of posters by emailing emily@bhfood.org.uk. They can also order Healthy Start application packs from the NHS by calling 0300 123 1002.  

The campaign is a huge partnership effort by food banks, community and voluntary groups, Sussex Community Foundation Trust, Brighton & Hove Buses, and Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children’s Centres and libraries.  

For more information for families struggling to eat well on a budget, including details of free school meals and on Chomp, the school holiday lunch club, see our food poverty advice pages.  

The fine print: 

Healthy Start Vouchers  are worth at least £3.10 per week, double if the child is aged under one year. They can be spent on milk or fresh or frozen fruit and veg.  You qualify for Healthy Start if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old and you or your family get: 

  • Income Support, or 
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Child Tax Credit (with a family income of £16,190 or less per year) 
  • Universal Credit (with a family take home pay of £408 or less per month) 

You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits. 

There is a list of Children’s Centres on the council’s website.

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