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Healthy Start

Healthy Start supports pregnant women and young families to eat well and get the vitamins they need for healthy development, helping you give your family the very best start in life.

Who is it for?

Vitamins

If you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, are a mum with a baby under 1 year and/or have children under 4 years, you can get free multivitamins from Children’s Centres, regardless of income. These include:

  • Multivitamins formulated especially for pregnancy and motherhood
  • Vitamin drops formulated for babies and children

The multivitamins contain a balance of nutrients to support healthy growth and development, alongside a balanced diet. They contain the recommended amount of Vitamin D for mums and infants – especially important during lockdown as you may not be getting enough sunshine to top up your Vitamin D levels naturally. 

Follow the link at the bottom of the page to see Children’s Centre contact details and opening times.

Food Vouchers

If you are also receiving income support*, you could also receive Healthy Start food vouchers. You can use these towards milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (without any additives), and infant formula in local shops. A list of participating retailers can be found following the link at the bottom of the page, along with some Healthy Start recipe ideas.

All pregnant women under 18 are entitled to both free vitamins and food vouchers

Use the checklist below to see what you can claim

Healthy start vouchers

  All Islington residents Receiving income support
 Criteria Vitamins (women's vitamins and/or children's vitamin drops) Healthy Start Food Voucher (£3.10 per week) Healthy Start Food Voucher (£6.10 per week)
Pregnant women under 18*  Yes  Yes  No
Pregnant women 18 and over  Yes  Yes  No
Baby under 1 year   Yes  Yes  No
Child between 1 and 4 years   Yes  No  Yes
Baby under 1 and child between 1 and 4 years  Yes  Yes  Yes

Healthy start vouchers checklist (PNG) 

* Income Support, 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 total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family

How can I apply?

You can get an application form by:

  • asking your midwife, health visitor, benefits team worker or citizen’s advice bureau for one
  • calling the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823 and asking them to send one to you by post
  • filling in the form online at healthystart.nhs.uk and then printing it off to check, sign and send Freepost
  • some distributors of food parcels are including application forms in the boxes
  • if you’re not receiving income support but would like vitamins, please call your Children’s Centre to apply
  • A Health professional’s signature no longer required on the application form

Further information

  • The national Healthy Start website
  • Your local Bright Start Health Visiting Team is here to provide support and advice on infant nutrition and feeding, and building a relationship with your baby. Visit their webpage, or follow the link to Children’s Centres and Under 5s activities below.
  • If you’d like some fun, easy ideas of things to do at home with children 0-5,
    sign up for the Bright Start Bright Ideas newsletter here
  • Family Support Surgeries are run by a Family Engagement Worker, who can provide support, advice, and information on any issues that may be affecting your family. To find out more for your area, call:
    • 0207 527 8376 (Bright Start Islington East)
    • 0207 527 8531 (Bright Start Islington West)
    • 0207 527 8512 (Bright Start Islington South)
  • For more information on healthy eating for pregnant women, infants, and new mums, please visit First Step Nutrition.