NHS Healthy Start card rolled out to Kent parents and expectant mums to help pay for food and milk
Hard-pressed parents can claim up to £1,230 per child to buy healthy food under a new NHS scheme.
Anyone under 18 who is expecting a baby, and over 18s who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, can apply for the Healthy Start card.
The project is being supported by Kent County Council (KCC), which recognises the challenges caused by soaring food costs.
A KCC statement said: "If you're over 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you could get help buying nutritious food, milk, and vitamins. If you're under 18 and pregnant you automatically qualify even if you are not on any benefits.
"If you’re eligible, and your application is approved, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops, worth £1,230 per child, if you register at 10 weeks of pregnancy.
“Your benefit will continue to be added onto this card every four weeks."
The card can be used to buy: plain liquid cow’s milk; fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables; fresh, dried, and tinned pulses; infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.
To find out more, or to apply, click here.
Dan Watkins, KCC cabinet member for public health, acknowledged the issues low-income families face in providing nutritious meals for young children in the face of a cost of living squeeze.
Cllr Watkins said: “We want to ensure that all of Kent’s children have the best possible start in life.
“To support ongoing good health in children, it's important to eat nutritious food. That's why I urge eligible people in Kent to apply for this helpful benefit.”