Reports Food Poverty

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

The Healthy Start scheme helps low-income pregnant women and young children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to buy fruit, vegetables, milk, pulses 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


Originally published in 2019, this report has been updated in March 2022.

Despite the significant positive impact that the Healthy Start scheme 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.

Making the most of Healthy Start: A toolkit for local action
18pp - 2022 | 1199Kb


Published Tuesday 1 March 2022

Food Poverty: Millions of people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. We’re working to change that through people-powered projects and campaigns that tackle the root causes of food poverty and ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, affordable food.

18pp - 2022


Support our work

Your donation will help communities identify ways to alleviate food poverty and increase access to healthy food.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2024
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies