Healthy Start scheme

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you could be eligible for this scheme and receive money towards food and milk.

What is Healthy Start?

You may be eligible for the Healthy Start scheme if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child or children under the age of 4. Through the scheme you will get a pre-paid card which will be topped up with money every four weeks and can be used to buy:

  • fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (whole or chopped, packaged or loose - with no added ingredients)
  • fresh, dried and tinned beans and pulses
  • plain cow's milk (whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed)
  • infant formula milk

Healthy Start pre-paid card

The pre-paid card can be used in any shop that sells healthy food and milk and accepts Mastercard. This includes:

  • supermarkets
  • your local shop
  • pharmacies or chemists
  • markets
  • petrol stations

The card cannot be used for online shopping or to request cashback. It is for in-store use only. 

You can check your balance in any cash machine using the PIN provided with your card, like a normal bank card, or by calling Healthy Start on 0300 330 7010.

Healthy Start vitamins

You can also get free Healthy Start vitamins. There are two types of vitamins available:

  • women's vitamins which are used to support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • vitamin drops for babies and young children - these are suitable from birth to four years old

You can pick up your Healthy Start vitamins at the following children and family hubs and local libraries listed below:

Children and family hubs

Vitamins can also be bought at the hubs for cost price by families that do not qualify for the Healthy Start scheme. Women's vitamins cost £1 and children's drops cost £1.50. Cash payments only.

  • Briercliffe children and family hub, Scarborough
  • Colburn children and family hub, Colburn
  • Selby North children and family hub, Selby
  • Skipton children and family hub, Skipton
  • Whitby children and family hub, Whitby
  • Atmosphere children and families hub, Pickering
  • Norton children and families hub, Malton
  • Bilton children and families hub, Harrogate
  • Knaresborough children and families hub, Knaresborough

These hubs are open Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm, and Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm. For further information and contact details please visit our Children and family hubs page.

Women and children’s vitamins can be collected free if in receipt of the Healthy Start Card at the venues below. Please not the following venues do not sell vitamins.


Other venues

Upfront social supermarket, Northallerton (Hambleton Community Action Facebook page)

How to apply

If you are eligible, you can apply online:

Apply for Healthy Start on the NHS website

Get help applying for Healthy Start from North Yorkshire Citizens Advice and Law Centre.

Frequently asked questions

Do I qualify?

You can get a Healthy Start card if you:

  • are at least 10 weeks pregnant, or
  • have a child under 4 years old

Your family must also get at least one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based 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
  • Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family (to find this information look at your Universal Credit award notice in the section 'your take home pay for this month')

Use the Healthy Start eligibility checker to help you find out if you are eligible.


  • families with No Recourse to Public Funds may also be able to apply - email to talk to an advisor
  • if you are under 18 and pregnant you can get a Healthy Start card even if you don't get any of the benefits listed above

How much will I get?

If you qualify you will receive:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

There is no limit on the amount of children you can claim for. 

The money will stop being paid when your child is 4 years old or you no longer receive benefits.