Did you know that up to 50% of low-income families in Tower Hamlets could be missing out on free fruit, veg and milk vouchers?
The Healthy Start programme supports families and those who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four, by providing vouchers to buy healthy food, milk, first infant formula, and receive Healthy Start vitamins.
New research from the food charity Sustain has found that nationally £79 million in free food has gone unclaimed, which is why Tower Hamlets Council is appealing to eligible families to apply for and use their food vouchers.
Leading food and health organisations and Directors of Public Health have joined Sustain to write a letter to the government and NHS urging them to publish the information they need to support families, increase the value of Healthy Start payments in line with inflation to help struggling families, and fix the problems with applying for and using the new digital cards which are leaving hundreds of thousands of eligible families without access to the scheme. Sustain estimates that this could be up to 253,887 eligible households in England and Wales alone.
A spokesperson from the council said: “We’re all facing a very difficult winter and lots of families are really struggling. Some of them might be entitled to Healthy Start cards for children to spend on fruit, vegetables and milk. We urge the Government to publish the information we need to find these families and help them.”
The current cost of living crisis has seen food costs rise 16.2% and housing, water, electric and gas skyrocket 26.6%. Prices are rising faster than the voucher value which is why there are also calls to increase the value of the voucher.
The current Healthy Start allowance of £8.50 per eligible household with an infant under 1 year of age is now not enough to cover the full cost of any infant formulas on the market.
If you need support with buying healthy food, milk, or vitamins, please visit the Healthy Start website to find out if you’re eligible to receive the vouchers.
The Public Health team at Tower Hamlets Council has produced a video for you to hear from families that have benefitted from the Healthy Start Vouchers and to support you with the current cost of living crisis.
To watch the video and to learn more about the Healthy Start scheme, click the link below.
Watch the video