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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. It provides money for healthy food and milk to pregnant women and families with children under four who get certain benefits. If you claimed it from pregnancy to your child's fourth birthday, you could get over £1,000 per child to cover the cost of healthy food and milk.

Our aim is to get 85% of residents who are eligible to apply for Healthy Start

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
  • have children under four years old and you get certain benefits
  • get Rose Vouchers

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 tenth week of pregnancy and for children aged between one and four years old
  • £8.50 each week for children under the age of one

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

How you can use the Health Start prepaid card 

If your application is successful you will get a prepaid contactless/chip and PIN card. You can use the prepaid card in stores that take Mastercard®. The scheme previously used paper vouchers. But from April 2022, it moved to the prepaid card.

You can use the card in any shop or market that accepts Mastercard® 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 four 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 out more from the Healthy Start frequently asked questions

Healthy Start for families with no recourse to public funds

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

If your family has no recourse to public funds, email the Department of Health and Social Security for a Healthy Start application form.

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

Free vitamin D scheme

If you’re pregnant or have a child under the age of four years old, you can collect free Healthy Start vitamins tablets and drops from pharmacies across Southwark and Lambeth. These vitamins support:

  • you to be healthy during and after pregnancy
  • babies and young children to develop and grow

Find out more about free vitamin D and where to collect vitamins

Fruit and vegetable vouchers for people in SE1, SE5, SE15 and SE17 (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 five who are not in reception at school, you're eligible for vouchers if any of the following apply:

  • you get Healthy Start
  • have a household income of less than £16,200 per year
  • you're a refugee, asylum seeker or have no recourse to public funds

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

How to apply for Rose Vouchers

To find out more, and to register for the scheme you can:

Page last updated: 04 July 2023


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