Healthy Start

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The Healthy Start national programme supports pregnant women and young families to eat well and get the vitamins they need for healthy development. In Islington, the universal entitlement is not means tested. In addition, all pregnant women under 18 are entitled to both free vitamins and food vouchers, regardless of income.


Pregnant women, women trying to conceive, mums with a baby under one year old and/or children under four years, can receive free multivitamins from Children’s Centres. 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 as families may not be getting enough sunshine to top up their Vitamin D levels naturally. 

Food vouchers

Pregnant women and families with children under four who are also in receipt of income support*, could receive free Healthy Start food vouchers. These can be used towards milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (without any additives), and infant formula in local shops. 

Use the checklist in the eligibility section below to see what you can claim

* Income Support includes: 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.

If families are not receiving income support but would like vitamins under the universal scheme, they should ring their Children’s Centre to apply.

Please note: A Health professional’s signature is no longer required on the application form.

Further information

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:

Bright Start Islington East  t: 020 7527 8376 
Bright Start Islington West  t: 020 7527 8531 
Bright Start Islington South  t: 020 7527 8512 

Eligibility criteria


Healthy start eligibility criteria table

How to refer

The following clinicians can refer to this service: GPs, Nurses, Health Visitors, Family Support Surgery Officers


Patients are able to self refer, at no cost, through the universal scheme. Families who may be eligible should be encouraged to apply for the scheme so they can receive food vouchers and other benefits.

Self-referral forms can be obtained by:

  • asking a 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 by post
  • filling in the form online at and then printing it off to check, sign and send Freepost
  • some distributors of food parcels are including application forms in the boxes

Healthy Start vitamins can be collected from centres across Islington.


t: 0345 607 6823


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