Two and a half thousand families in Devon can sign up to receive a seasonal fruit and vegetable box this Autumn as part of a Devon County Council initiative to help raise awareness of the government’s Healthy Start scheme, which is due to go digital later this year.
Devon County Council’s ‘Get a Healthy Start!’ boxes are available for Devon residents eligible for Healthy Start. They contain fresh fruit and vegetables and simple plant-based recipe ideas, with tips on how to swap or add ingredients and prevent food waste. The box will also contain free vitamins and information on how to apply and make the most of the national Healthy Start scheme. Devon County Council are asking organisations to help promote this offer to families who may be eligible; orders must be received by 24th September. More information to help with this promotion can be found at www.dcfp.org.uk/training-and-resources/get-a-healthy-start-information-for-organisations-working-with-families
Recent research has shown that just under a third of households in Devon with children are experiencing food insecurity, but at the moment, only around half of eligible families are signed up to Healthy Start, which means many are missing out on much needed support. The scheme provides eligible families who are pregnant or have children under the age of 4 with money to spend on cow’s milk, fruit, vegetables, infant formula, and free vitamins.
The Devon Food Partnership sees food insecurity as an important area for action, and therefore would like to support work to increase uptake of Healthy Start across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.
From the end of October the scheme will be digital, meaning families will no longer receive paper vouchers but will instead be provided with a pre-paid card with money automatically loaded every four weeks. The sign-up process will also be online or over the phone rather than posting a paper form, and more retailers will be able to participate in the scheme. Vitamins are still currently available from local Children’s Centres.
For more information on Healthy Start please visit https://healthystart.nhs.uk, or to order a ‘Get a Healthy Start’ box from Devon County Council online, please visit https://devon.cc/getahealthystart
If other Devon Food Partnership supporters are running initiatives to promote Healthy Start, please do get in touch so we can help promote your work.