Healthy Start is the UK’s food welfare scheme for pregnant women and infants and young children in low-income families. Healthy Start aims to provide a basic nutritional safety net for vulnerable mothers and young children and to encourage families to make healthy food choices. Healthy Start provides free vitamins for pregnant women and young children and a food voucher that can be spent on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, plain milk or infant formula. Find out more about Healthy Start here
The Healthy Start Alliance brings together policy makers, recipients, partners, retailers and supporters of the UK Healthy Start scheme. We will provide information and resources, advocate for the scheme and ensure that all those who work to support pregnant women, young families and those living on low incomes are aware of the importance and potential of the UK wide welfare food scheme. The Healthy Start Alliance has been brought together by a group of charities and NGO and is managed by First Steps Nutrition Trust. See the ‘Support Us’ page for how to get in touch
Maternal, infant and early years’ nutrition is fundamental to reducing inequalities in health and life chances and in ensuring all children can reach their full potential. Healthy Start is the only form of benefit that ring-fences money for families to spend specifically on food.
These are uncertain times politically, and changes to how benefits are managed may mean that the Healthy Start scheme becomes vulnerable.
Evaluations have shown that support and understanding of the Healthy Start scheme is patchy and discussions around food poverty rarely mention the welfare food scheme. The Healthy Start Alliance will promote the scheme and aims to protect it by demonstrating that there is a broad network of NGOs, professional bodies and experts that value Healthy Start as both a public health initiative and a welfare benefit. You can see our ‘manifesto’ here.
We are building a broad ranging group of organisations and individuals as Alliance supporters and hope to build this substantially over the coming months.
If you would like to join the Alliance follow the links to ‘support us’. Being an Alliance member requires no financial or time commitment: it simply means that you or your organisation support the idea of a welfare food scheme in the UK.
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For more information on this video please contact Graham Mackenzie
Click here to see our Alliance supporters.