Parents and carers of young children may be entitled to receive help through the Healthy Start scheme.
Healthy Start provides up to £24.80 a month per child under the age of one, and £12.40 per child aged between one and four years.
The scheme is currently moving from voucher to a prepaid card scheme, which will be topped up every four weeks. The money can be used for fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, as well as milk and infant formula. Recipients can also access vitamins designed for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The new prepaid card will be easier to use, as it can be used anywhere that has a chip and pin machine and sells the eligible healthy start food items. Families will be able to keep the change, unlike the current voucher scheme where the recipient must spend £4.25 or over in one transaction.
Councillor Shane McMurray, Portfolio Holder for children’s services said: “I’m really pleased we are able to deliver this scheme which helps to remove financial barriers to eating healthy food for some of our residents who may be struggling financially.”
Families qualify for Healthy Start if they are at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have a child under four years old and the family receives at least one of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year
- Pension Credit; or
- Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family.
Women under the age of 18 and who are pregnant are also eligible, even without receiving any of the above benefits.
Rachel Roberts, Head of early help at Hull City Council said: “The take up of the scheme is currently 68 percent of those that are eligible in Hull, so we know there are others families in the city that could benefit. I encourage parents and carers with young children to consider if they are eligible.”