Rashford asks healthcare professionals to encourage Healthy Start sign ups

5 August 2021
Marcus Rashford has written an open letter in the BMJ, asking healthcare workers to encourage parents in their communities to sign up to the Healthy Start scheme.

In his open letter, Rashford outlines his mission to encourage the 40% of families, who are eligible for Healthy Start but not registered, to join scheme. Since last autumn, the Child Food Poverty Taskforce – which School Food Matters actively supports – has been promoting the Healthy Start scheme, resulting in thousands more families benefitting. Now, the England and Man United forward is asking healthcare professionals to bring the scheme to the attention of parents in their communities.

The government’s Healthy Start scheme aims to reduce health inequalities by providing vitamins, dietary advice and £4.25 in vouchers per week for milk, infant formula, and vegetables to low-income families with pregnant women or children up to four years old. Parents can find out if they’re eligible using this simple eligibility calculator.

The footballer has already been working to promote scheme, along with chef Tom Kerridge in their ‘FULL TIME: Get Cooking with Marcus and Tom’ series of cook-alongs, which continue every Sunday afternoon on Instagram.

Not only does uptake of the scheme need a boost, the age limit needs to be increased so that children receive the benefit right up until they start school. This is one of the recommendations within the National Food Strategy aimed at ensuring there is no nutrition gap for children before they receive their free school meal in Reception. 

And it was great to read Marcus’ gratitude to all the heroic healthcare workers for their relentless work during the pandemic.

The letter can be read here.