Pregnant women and low income families in Royton to benefit from Healthy Start pilot at The Bread and Butter Thing


01/07/2021

Royton mums-to-be and families on low incomes will be able to buy more nutritious food for their money, thanks to a pilot scheme we're running in partnership with Oldham Council and food redistribution charity, The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT).

Starting on 7 July, eligible pregnant women and families with children under the age of four from the local area – not just FCHO customers – will be able to spend their Healthy Start vouchers at TBBT’s food service held at Bethesda Church, Royton on Wednesday afternoons. By using their £4.25 Healthy Starts vouchers, they’ll be able to buy £35 worth of food including a great mix of fresh fruit and veg for just £3.25.

Dave Brereton, our Community Impact Manager said: "Our partnership with TBBT affordable food service already brings good quality food to our customers for a fraction of its usual price, so they don’t have to choose between buying food, paying bills or buying other essentials.

"Now by accepting the Healthy Start vouchers from FCHO customers and other members of the local community who don’t live in FCHO properties, we'll be able to help more people make their money go even further and support them to give their families the best start in life."

We are trialling the Healthy Start scheme in Royton to begin with. If successful, it will be rolled out to our four other services in Oldham that we deliver in partnership with TBBT and further afield to all TBBT’s projects across the north of England.

Uptake of Healthy Start vouchers in Oldham is among the lowest in Greatest Manchester and our team will be raising awareness of the scheme and supporting people to apply for the vouchers.

Dave adds: "The coronavirus pandemic has hit our borough hard, so it's more important than ever that everyone who can claim Healthy Start vouchers does. Yet many local families in need are missing out on them – especially in Royton where we know a high number of people qualify for Healthy Start vouchers but don’t access them.

“We'll be supporting eligible customers to claim the vouchers and then helping them to make the most of them, so local families in greatest need can benefit."

Mark Game, CEO at The Bread and Butter Thing added: “TBBT is one of the only food charities nationally that now has the capacity to accept Healthy Start vouchers. We’re genuinely delighted that we can run this pilot scheme with FCHO to help our members make their money go even further whilst adding value to our existing scheme and supporting families to feed their children quality, nutritious food.

“A critical part of this work is also about helping people check their eligibility and sign up to Healthy Start vouchers to ensure that as many people as possible are using the scheme and accessing the benefits that they’re entitled to. This is a really significant way for people on low incomes to improve the diets of their young families with long-lasting benefits for their futures.”

First Choice Homes Oldham and TBBT are among the local agencies which form the Oldham Food Partnership, led by Oldham Council. Partners work together to provide Oldhamers with fair access to fresh, affordable and healthy food.

If you're one of our customers in Royton and would like to find out more about the Healthy Start offer, contact communityimpact@fcho.co.uk or call 0161 393 7117. Local people who aren’t FCHO customers can contact Oldham Council on 0161 770 8172 for details of how they can access the service.

Healthy Start application forms are available from Royton library and can also be accessed online at healthystart.nhs.uk.

Healthy Start is an NHS scheme to reduce child poverty and health inequalities by providing weekly vouchers to buy nutritious food. It is available for low-income families with pregnant women and children up to the age of four. Eligible families can also receive Healthy Start vitamins. The food vouchers are sent out by post every four weeks and Healthy Start vitamins vouchers every eight weeks. Visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk/ for further information.

If you think you may be eligible for Healthy Start vouchers, you can check at healthystart.nhs.uk or www.endchildfoodpoverty.org.