Kingston supports calls for improvements to the Healthy Start scheme for families and mums-to-be.

Kingston Council supports the Local Government Association, charity Sustain and national Directors of Public Health campaign to make Healthy Start more effective.

Kingston Council has signed a letter in support of the Local Government Association, charity Sustain and national Directors of Public Health campaign for better access and increased funding of the Government/NHS Healthy Start programme. 

The group has highlighted that local councils are being hindered from supporting their residents in accessing Healthy Start funding because data identifying those who could be missing out has not been available to councils since March 2022. The campaign is also calling for the funding to be increased to reflect the significant rise in the cost of living that families have experienced over the last year. 

The NHS Healthy Start card provides money to low-income mums-to-be and families with children of 4 and under specifically for healthy food, milk, baby formula and free vitamins. 

New research from food charity Sustain has found that nationally £79 million in free food has gone unclaimed. Councils believe that 50% of low income families in London alone could be missing out on £12.7million of free fruit, veg and milk that they are entitled to. 

Iona Lidington, Director of Public Health for Kingston said: “We know this is a challenging time for everyone, particularly during the festive season, and families are finding it extra difficult this year due to the cost of living crisis. Some of our families might be entitled to Healthy Start cards which can give them £4.25 a week per child to spend on fruit, vegetables and milk. However we do not have the data at a local level to help them access this 

“In addition, the current Healthy Start allowance of £8.50 per eligible household with an infant under 1 year of age is now not enough to cover the full cost of any infant formula on the market.”

A copy of the letter sent to the government is here

Details of the LGA campaign is here

Information from the charity Sustain is here

Published: 23rd December 2022