Low income families of young children eligible for vouchers to help with the weekly food shop are being urged to take up the scheme, after data showed half of Cambridge mums were eligible but not claiming them.
The Healthy Start vouchers can be used to buy fresh fruit, veg and formula milk to “provide crucial access to healthy food for those who need it most: qualifying pregnant women, babies and toddlers”.
Data for Cambridge shows that there are 773 eligible families but just 395 have made use of the vouchers, leaving 378 families eligible but not claiming them.
The vouchers were first introduced in 2006 by the then Labour Government.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “This is a tough time for many local families. That’s why it’s so crucial that we raise awareness of Healthy Start vouchers, so that people who need the support can find it. Applying is relatively straightforward and you can redeem the vouchers in many supermarkets and other retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tescos, Asda, the Co-op and Boots.”
People can qualify for the vouchers if they are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four-years-old and receive:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (only for those 10 weeks or more pregnant until birth)
- 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
- Those under 18 and pregnant also qualify, regardless of whether they receive any of the benefits above.
Apply by visiting https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/how-to-apply/