Free milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins

The Healthy Start Scheme provides vouchers to pregnant women and eligible families. You can use the vouchers to buy milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables in local shops. You can also get coupons for free vitamin supplements through the scheme.

Eligible for Healthy Start Scheme

You are entitled to Healthy Start vouchers if you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years of age and you or your family get one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless your family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only) and an annual family income of £16,190 or less 
  • Universal Credit (with a family take home pay of £408 or less per month) 

Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week.

You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.

How to use the voucher

You can use the vouchers to buy:

  • plain cow’s milk (whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed) that contains  no added ingredients
  • plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (whole, chopped, packaged or loose)

If you are breastfeeding your child, you can spend Healthy Start food vouchers on milk, fruit and vegetables to improve your own health and nutrition.

When a mother doesn't breastfeed, families can use Healthy Start vouchers to buy Infant formula milk suitable from birth (cows’ milk based) in the first year of a child’s life

Voucher values

The vouchers are worth:

  • £3.10 per week if pregnant
  • £6.20 per week for each baby aged under one
  • £3.10 per week for each child aged over one and under four years of age

You can use Healthy Start Vouchers in:

  • supermarkets
  • pharmacies
  • greengrocers
  • convenience stores

You can use the vouchers to pay for milk delivered to your door.

Find shops where you can use vouchers

To find your nearest participating shops, go to the Healthy Start website or telephone the Healthy Start helpline:

How to claim Healthy Start vouchers

You'll need to complete an application form and get your midwife, health visitor or registered doctor or nurse to sign it.

You can request a Healthy Start application form by calling the Healthy Start Helpline and quoting reference HS01.

Or, you can download an application form from the Healthy Start website (form is available to download at the bottom of the website page).

How to get Healthy Start vitamins

You can also get free vitamins under the Healthy Start Scheme. There are free vitamin drops A, C and D available for children from six months until their fourth birthday. Tablets are also available for pregnant women and women with babies up to one year old. These tablets, for pregnant and breastfeeding women, contain C and D vitamins and folic acid.

You do not have to complete a separate application form for vitamins. A green vitamin coupon is printed on voucher letters every eight weeks, to prompt eligible people to claim their vitamin supplements. There will be one coupon for each person entitled to the vitamins which will clearly indicate which supplement they are entitled to.

In Northern Ireland, you can't get Healthy Start vitamins through pharmacies. You should post your Healthy Start letter with the green vitamin coupon still attached to:

Business Services Organisation (BSO)
Healthy Start Vitamin Scheme
Pinewood Villa
73 Loughgall Road
Armagh
BT61 7PR

BSO will post the vitamins to your address.

Information and advice

You should ask your midwife or health visitor for health information and advice about:

  • pregnancy
  • infant feeding
  • weaning
  • benefits of milk, fruit and vegetables
  • vitamin supplements

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