Northumberland’s Family Hubs join the list of venues supporting Healthy Start Vitamins as collection points, making sure the county’s youngest residents get off to the best start in life.
Healthy Start is an NHS scheme that helps women who are pregnant or have young children and are receiving benefits, buy foods such as milk or fruit. Families receiving certain benefits such as income support, income-based job seekers allowance or Universal Credit can check if they are eligible at: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/how-to-apply/.
Gill O’Neill, Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council, said: “You will get most of the vitamins you need from food. However, young children may not get enough vitamin A and D even if they’re eating well. And those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, may not get enough vitamin C, vitamin D or folic acid.
“As outlined in the recent Director of Public Health Annual Report, we know that we need to create the right conditions for everyone to promote a healthy diet and healthy weight – this includes how children live, learn, play and grow.
“The Healthy Start Scheme helps those eligible to buy healthy food and milk. And the free vitamin scheme is a great way to ensure vitamin supplements are available free of charge to those who need them most.”
Northumberland County Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member for Children's Services, said: “It is important for children and nursing mothers to get all the vitamins they need, and we want to support parents by making it easy to access the scheme if they are eligible.
”Eleven Family Hubs across the county are collection points for the free vitamins, which means that they can be collected whilst people are using a wide range of other support services available in our Hubs, making it as convenient as possible for our families.”
Healthy Start vitamins are available to pregnant and breastfeeding people, people with a child under 1 year old, and children under the age of 4. Healthy Start vitamins provide the correct amount of vitamins recommended by the government. They contain:
vitamins A, C and D for children aged from birth to 4 years old
folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin D for pregnant people, breastfeeding people, and people with a child under 1 year old
Healthy Start vitamins are important because:
8% of children under 5 in the UK do not have enough vitamin A in their diet
families in lower-income groups tend to have less vitamin C in their diet
all pregnant people, breastfeeding people and young children are at risk of vitamin D deficiency (teenagers, younger adults and those from ethnic minorities are particularly at risk)
To collect free vitamins from one of Northumberland’s Family Hubs, an NHS Healthy Start card must be shown.