Making the most of Healthy Start: A toolkit for local action

The Healthy Start voucher scheme helps low-income pregnant women and young children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to buy fruit, vegetables, milk and infant formula. The vouchers are a means-tested scheme that act as a basic nutritional safety net and encourage families to make healthy food choices.


Despite the significant positive impact that Healthy Start vouchers can have on a household’s budget and access to a healthy diet, in some areas almost half of eligible families are missing out.

The aim of this toolkit is to share what actions can be taken by local authorities, health professionals and the community sector to increase take up of the scheme locally. The toolkit covers

  • What is Healthy Start?
  • Working with health professionals
  • Promotion and campaigning
  • Increasing retailer participation and awareness
  • Mainstreaming into local welfare and advice services
  • Scotland’s Best Start Foods
  • Appendix A: A brief guide to Healthy Start
  • Appendix B: Healthy Start quiz

As of summer 2019, Scotland introduced a new Best Start Foods scheme to replace Healthy Start, which is covered in more detail on page 13.

Toolkit written by Maddie Guerlain with thanks to Sam Dyer and Simon Shaw.

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26/09/2019
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