A quicker, simpler application process for Healthy Start food vouchers has been welcomed by Greater Manchester health leaders amid concerns around food poverty during the coronavirus pandemic.
The changes mean families no longer need a health professional, such as a midwife or health visitor, to complete and sign the application form.
Healthy Start vouchers worth up to £6.20 a week are available to pregnant women and parents of children aged under four who receive certain benefits such as income support or jobseeker’s allowance. Anyone who is aged under 18 and pregnant is also eligible. The vouchers can be used to help buy basic healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, milk or infant formula. Free vitamins are also available for pregnant women and young children. However, take up across Greater Manchester is low with an estimated £4 million in vouchers going unclaimed each year. It is hoped that the latest changes will help to boost the number of families signing up to the scheme.