Healthy eating

Help for families to buy healthy food

Get help to buy healthy food and milk (Healthy Start scheme)

Healthy Start  is a national scheme that provides pregnant women and families with children under 4 years old who receive certain benefits with money to buy healthy food and milk. If claimed from pregnancy to the 4th birthday of the child, you could receive over £1000 per child to cover the cost of healthy food and milk.

Southwark is currently working to increase the amount of people who are registered for Healthy Start to at least 85% of eligible residents - Find out if you're eligible for the healthy food and milk scheme

If you're 18 years or older, you may be eligible if:

  • you are pregnant or
  • you have children under 4 years old and you receive certain benefits

People under 18 years old who are pregnant do not need to get benefits in order to be eligible for Healthy Start.

How much money you will get per week

You’ll get money added to your Healthy Start card every 4 weeks.

  • £4.25 each week from the 10th week of pregnancy and for children aged between 1 and 4 years old
  • £8.50 each week for children up under the age of 1

Check the full list of eligible benefits and eligibility criteria and how to apply for Healthy Start.

How you can use the Health Start prepaid card 

Once you have successfully applied for Healthy Start, you will receive a prepaid card, similar to a MasterCard® . Previously the scheme used  paper vouchers, but from April 2022, it has moved to the prepaid card.

You can use the card in any shop or market that accepts card payments to pay for:

  • fresh, frozen and tinned fruit, vegetables
  • fresh, dried and tinned pulses
  • plain cow’s milk
  • infant formula milk

The card will be topped up automatically with funds every 4 weeks. Find out more about using your Healthy Start card.

If you're unable to apply online you can call the National Healthy Start Team on 0300 330 7010.

Find our more from the Healthy Start frequently asked questions

Healthy Start for families with no recourse for public funds

If you are excluded from receiving public funds (due to your immigration status), but your child is a British Citizen, you may still be eligible for the Healthy Start scheme. This is due to a temporary extension of the Healthy Start scheme for families with no recourse for public funds.

To get Healthy Start vouchers as a family with no recourse for public funds, you can email for an application form.

Find out more about Healthy Start and see if you are eligible.

Free vitamin D scheme

Anyone who is pregnant or has a child under the age of 4 years old can collect free Healthy Start vitamins tablets and drops from pharmacies across Southwark. These vitamins support women to be healthy during and after pregnancy and support babies and young children to develop and grow. Find out  more about free vitamin D and where to collect vitamins

Rose vouchers

Rose vouchers are available for residents living in SE1, SE5, SE15 and SE17. Find free vouchers to use on fruit and vegetables at local markets such as:

Who is eligible for Rose vouchers

If you're pregnant or have children aged under 5 who are not in reception at school, you're eligible for vouchers if any of the following apply:

If you qualify with a child under 5, older siblings will also receive vouchers until the end of primary school.

How to apply for Rose vouchers

To receive Rose vouchers from the charity 1st Place Children and Parents’ Centre, you can:

Page last updated: 06 December 2022

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