Help with food

image of foodbank worker preparing food parcel

Help with food

There are times when people struggle to afford food. Perhaps they've lost their job or have received an unexpected bill when on a low income. If you find yourself in this position, there is support available which could include:

  • an emergency food parcel
  • access to low-cost food (for example, a 'community pantry')
  • meals for people who are homeless

Use our directory to search for help in your area.

Find your local foodbank by using the Bradford Foodbanks website

The Healthy Start Scheme

Get help to buy healthy food and milk


Pregnant women and families who have children under four years old may be entitled to get vouchers or payments every four weeks under the NHS Healthy Start scheme.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. This card will be topped up every 4 weeks for as long as you are eligible.

You can use your card to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

You can also use your card to collect:

  • Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old

Who is eligible?

You will usually qualify if you’re getting certain benefits and are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4.

If you are pregnant and under 18 you do not need to be in receipt of benefits to qualify.

If you are not a British citizen but have a child who is and is under 4 years old, you may qualify.

Healthy Start - Who is Eligible? (Animation)

Healthy Start - Under 18 and pregnancy eligibility (Animation)

Healthy Start - What you can buy with your card (Animation)

Healthy Start - Vitamins (Animation)

Healthy Start - Apply Online (Animation)

How does the scheme work?

Eligible families issued a pre-paid card which can be used in chip and pin machines at participating retailers. The card is automatically topped up every four weeks.

More information and how to apply

For more information on who can qualify and how to apply visit Healthy Start

The NHS has answered some frequently asked questions

If you need support in understanding the scheme or making an application, you can speak to your midwife or your health visitor.

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