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Healthy Start – New Social Media Toolkit

Date: Thursday, 31st Mar 2022 | Category: General

East Sussex Public Health are encouraging organisations, services, groups and individuals across the county to make use of the social media messaging, images, and newsletter text available as part of the NHS Healthy Start – Social Media Toolkit (March 2022), using the hashtag #HealthyStartEastSussex.

As some of you will know, the NHS Healthy Start Scheme helps those who are pregnant or have responsibility for at least one child under four years of age who are on a low income in England. Families entitled to Healthy Start can get help to buy plain, fresh, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables, plain cow’s milk, infant formula and fresh or tinned pulses. Beneficiaries of the scheme can also get free Healthy Start vitamins for women and children.

The Healthy Start scheme is in the process of becoming a digital service, offering an online application process, and introducing a prepaid card to be used for purchasing healthy food and milk. Beneficiaries of the scheme will also be able to also use their prepaid card to collect free Healthy Start vitamins. This digital service has now replaced the paper application form and provision of paper vouchers.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) were due to send out the last set of Healthy Start paper vouchers to existing beneficiaries the week commencing 7th March 2022. It is therefore important that families in receipt of Healthy Start vouchers apply online for their prepaid card ASAP to avoid a gap in payment of their Healthy Start benefit. Furthermore, despite the positive impact that the scheme can have on a household’s budget and access to a healthy diet; during 2021, over 40% of eligible families in East Sussex were not benefitting from the scheme – a huge loss to families struggling to cover the rising cost of living.

The NHS BSA has now published some additional promotional materials and guidance for health professionals, LA’s and supporting organisations, which has been used to create the attached new Healthy Start social media toolkit and Newsletter Text (March 2022). These can be used to:

  • raise awareness with existing beneficiaries of the changes to the NHS Healthy Start scheme and encourage them to apply online for their prepaid card
  • raise general awareness of the Healthy Start scheme, to include eligibility, what you can receive, and how to apply.

 Additional promotion materials detailed in the link above include editable posters, animations, leaflets including Easy-Read, banner and digital screen designs, email signatures and (coming soon) materials in other languages.

Please support us by sharing these messages with the families with whom you work. Please also encourage relevant partners you work with to use the attached social media, building these into their ongoing communications plans.