Healthy Start Winchester

NHS Healthy Start is an NHS funded scheme for people on certain benefits who are either pregnant (from 10-weeks) or have children under the age of 4, to help purchase fruit, veg, pulses and milk.  The vouchers are worth at £4.25 a week (or £8.50 between birth and 1st birthday).

Information on eligibility can be found at but we have also created a local Facebook page Healthy-Start-Winchester to update individuals and organisations about changes and local updates, and allow people to message us about issues so that we can investigate on their behalf.

Translations of the HSV info can be found at Healthy-Start-leaflet-translations.pdf (thanks to Lambeth Council and Sustain for sharing).


In order to apply you need to complete the online form.  To complete the form will need your full name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and baby’s due date (if you are pregnant).

Please make sure the details you enter on the online form are exactly the same as those that DWP hold (e.g name, address etc) and you have informed DWP of the birth of the child.

There are some people who cannot apply using the online application, and must email

  • Applicants who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) – see info below
  • Pregnant under 18 (who are not on a benefit)
  • Pregnant and in receipt of Child Tax Credit with no children under 4
  • Pregnant and in receipt of Income Related Employment & Support Allowance

Those on the following benefits are not able to apply online (unless they also receive Child Tax Credit):

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks if working less than 16 hours per week)

If you are unable to apply online, then you will need to call 0300 330 7010, and then press option 2 for “other enquiries” (or 3 if you need an interpreter) and you should get through to an advisor.


If you have been told that you are ineligible for the Healthy Start scheme, and you believe that is incorrect; please double check the eligibility criteria, you aren’t one of the people who can’t apply online (see above) and the name you used on the application is exactly the same as detailed in your UC claim, and resubmit your application.  If you have still been incorrectly declined, you must email and keep all records of correspondence so you request your claim is backdated.

If you are still unsuccessful, and you believe you are eligible, you should complete this FORM


Once you have received the card, you will need to activate it by calling  0300 330 7010 and then press 1, this will take them to an automated service which will take a couple of minutes to go through.  You will need the card, your date of birth and your client ID (located at the top of the letter that came with the card).  There is normally a really long wait if you need to talk to an advisor, so try to activate that card using the automated system. Approx 2 days after you receive your card you will get a PIN in the post which will enable you use the card, and also check the balance at a cashpoint.  If you forget your PIN or lose your card, call 0300 330 7010 (24hrs, 7days) and use the automated system where possible


The pre paid card will be automatically updated every 4 weeks and can be used in any food retailer that accepts the Mastercard; it cannot be used for online shopping.  The card should only be used for the permitted items.  More info is available here.

The card can only be used at a food retailer – this is determined by the merchant code that the retailer registers when they apply to accept Mastercard.  Shops such as B&M are not registered as a food retailer , even though they sell food, and therefore Healthy Start cards are not valid.

Money only remains on the Healthy Start card for 16 weeks.  Money not spend will expire after 16 weeks, but the card will continue to be topped up.


Non British Families, eg migrant or refugee families who have British children may qualify, if:

  • you have at least 1 British child under 4 years old – check if your child is automatically a British citizen) if you’re not sure.  (Please note a child born in Britain, isn’t automatically British)
  • your family earns £408 or less per month after tax
  • you cannot claim ‘public funds’  (for example, benefits) – either because of your immigration status or because you do not have an immigration status.  Your biometric residence permit (BRP) or your online immigration status will say if you cannot claim public funds. You might also have a letter from the Home Office about it.

In this circumstances, to get Healthy Start vouchers  you must ask for an application form via email. Only use this email address if you think you cannot claim public funds because of your immigration status

Follow Healthy Start Winchester on Facebook to stay up to date with what’s happening in Winchester.