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Action needed: Please signpost parents to Healthy Start Scheme

29th July 2021

In the spirit of collaboration, we are supporting and sharing Marcus Rashford MBE’s call to signpost as many people as possible to the Government’s Healthy Start Scheme.

In a letter received today by the iHV, Marcus writes:

“Daily, you see first-hand the impact hunger and poor diets have on, not only physical, but mental health and where that can lead. You are for many, for many communities like mine, a lifeline. An avenue to really be heard and to be seen.

“Healthcare professionals are in a position to signpost eligible parents to the Healthy Start scheme, and I would very much appreciate it if you would consider collaborating with us on communicating and educating on the scheme during consultations.”

In the letter, Marcus details how members of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce have leveraged their channels and platforms since November 2020 to communicate and educate on the Healthy Start scheme – with the hope that the majority of those most in need would be reached. Whilst 57,000 more parents have benefitted from the scheme as a result, Marcus shares his concern that the reach is plateauing.

He states that more than 40% of those eligible are still not registered for the scheme, and he is confident that the majority of these parents can be found in communities just like the one he grew up in – where there is no internet, no high street, no word of mouth.

And so he is calling for healthcare professionals, such as health visitors who reach into these communities, to help spread the word by sharing information and educating families during your contacts.

He writes:

“A true difference can only be made via a grassroots approach so we have developed, with help from the NHS, a simple to use calculator to determine eligibility which we would love for you to utilise: https://endchildfoodpoverty.org/healthy-start.”