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Healthy Start scheme goes digital

A scheme which helps parents in Nottinghamshire get help to buy food and milk is going fully digital.

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk under the Healthy Start scheme. If you are eligible, you will be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Your benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.

You can use your card to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • Fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh, dried and tinned pulses
  • Infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

You can also use your card to collect:

  • Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old

The change to the NHS Healthy Start scheme means everyone who currently receives paper vouchers needs to reapply online for their prepaid card to continue to get their benefit. Prepaid cards are completely replacing the paper vouchers given to pregnant women and low-income households with children to help them buy healthy food and milk. The change aims to increase uptake of the scheme, simplify the process and make it more accessible.

The new card is discreet and can be used in most places that accept Mastercard and sell eligible healthy start food items such as fruit, vegetables and tinned pulses. That includes supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and newsagents. The card can also be used to collect free NHS Healthy Start vitamins. It allows people to check their balance to help with money management, and any money that is not spent will remain on the card and can be put toward healthy food in the future. Payment is added to the card automatically, so there is no need to wait for vouchers in the post. Cards are topped up with £4.25 a week, or double if it is for a family with a child under 12 months old.

To see if you are eligible, visit: Healthy Start

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 07-03-2022

This page will be next reviewed on 07-03-2025