Local Member of the Senedd Dawn Bowden is encouraging eligible families in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney to sign up for an NHS scheme which provides healthy food and vitamins for free.
Under the Healthy Start scheme, families can get a pre-paid card that is topped up every 4 weeks with credit to help them buy healthy food – fruit, vegetables, pulses, milk and infant formula. They can also get free Healthy Start vitamins.
Figures show that nearly 40% of people within Wales who are eligible for the scheme are currently not claiming it.
Dawn Bowden MS said:
“Currently, only 63% of Healthy Start vouchers are claimed in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney. That means every week £1,300.50 worth of healthy food doesn’t reach those who need it.
“With the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many families in Wales, I want to make sure that people are aware of the help which is available through the Healthy Start scheme and they make use of it to buy healthy food for their families.
“If you think you might be eligible, please apply online – visit https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/.”
Healthy Start is available to those who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, and are in receipt of certain benefits. From the 10th week of pregnancy until a child turns 4, you could be entitled to more than £1,200 to spend on healthy food.
Healthy Start cards can be used in retailers that sell food and accept MasterCard.
They can be used to buy:
- cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen, and tined fruit and vegetables
- dried and tinned pulses
- first infant formula milk
Those eligible can also collect free Healthy Start vitamins. Taking certain vitamins during pregnancy and in early childhood improves both mothers’ and children’s health. Midwives and health visitors can also provide advice on where to get them.
Families can check out if they are eligible at www.healthystart.nhs.uk.