Get help to buy food and milk (NHS Healthy Start)
What is Healthy Start?
With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.
Pregnant or have children under the age of four? You could qualify if you're on benefits, or if you're pregnant and under 18.
Voucher Expiry Dates
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve temporarily extended the validity of the Healthy Start vouchers by 4 weeks, giving you 12 weeks to use your entitlement, we will keep this under review.
This change will not reduce the number of vouchers you receive and registered retailers will continue to accept vouchers with extended expiry dates.
Healthy Start helps you give your family the very best start in life
If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4, you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over 1 and under 4 can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under 1 can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.
The vouchers can be spent on:
- plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
- fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables including loose, pre-packed, whole, sliced, chopped or mixed fruit or vegetables, fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water, but not those to which fat, salt, sugar or flavouring have been added
- fresh, dried and tinned pulses, including but not limited to lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas but not those to which fat, salt, sugar or flavouring have been added
- infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk
Healthy Start vitamins
Women and children getting Healthy Start food vouchers also get vitamin coupons to swap for free Healthy Start vitamins. Healthy Start vitamins are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.
Your midwife or health visitor will be able to tell you where you can swap your coupon for vitamins in your area.
How to apply
Applying for Healthy Start is easy.
If you already have an application leaflet, just fill out the form inside. A midwife or health visitor no longer needs to sign this form. Sign it and send it to us using the freepost envelope attached.
If you don't have an application form you can find one here. We use information from your tax credits and benefits claims to check you qualify so make sure all your details (including your address) are up to date with Tax Credits and JobCentre Plus as this will help us process your application quickly.
Note: The Application Form (pdf) can be downloaded and printed from this page.