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Training and resources for professionals

Get a Healthy Start! – Information for Organisations Working with Families

What is the Get a Healthy Start! project?

Inspired by the recent Goodie Box project run by Devon County Council, this project will see boxes of fruit and vegetables delivered directly to the doors of families, along with recipes to prepare the produce and information on the Healthy Start Scheme. Boxes will only contain ingredients which can be purchased with Healthy Start, to give people some inspiration about how the entitlement can be used.

About Healthy Start

You may already know about the Healthy Start scheme, where eligible pregnant women or families with children under 4 on low incomes can access vouchers for fresh, frozen, and canned fruit and vegetables, cow’s milk, infant formula, and free vitamins. This scheme can be a great support for families experiencing food insecurity and has been shown to enable increased spend on fruit and vegetables and improve nutrient composition of families’ shopping.

Unfortunately, only about 48% of eligible families in Devon are currently receiving this important support.

The scheme is set to go digital in the Autumn, and everyone will need to apply to receive it, even those already in receipt.

We hope the Get a Healthy Start! project can raise awareness of the scheme with eligible families and encourage them to sign up for the digital programme, support families in making the most of their Healthy Start entitlement and provide inspiration for nutritious meals based on main ingredients that can be bought using Healthy Start.

Why Are We Doing It?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a year of difficulty for many people. Recent research has shown that levels of food insecurity in Devon are very high, and families with children are even more likely to be experiencing food insecurity; 47% of households with 3+ children and 25% with 1-2 children were experiencing food insecurity earlier this year. We hope this promotional project will help increase awareness of and sign up to the scheme to maximise the number of residents who are accessing the financial support they are entitled to, and also minimise the risk that those who receive Healthy Start currently will have their support stopped when digitisation takes place.

What will the box include?

Boxes will contain the following:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Booklet containing recipes, information and support on Healthy Start and useful signposting information
  • Healthy Start vitamins – for children or women, depending on option selected
  • Fun 10 minute shake up games to help get children active
  • Breastfeeding support information

We hope the boxes will give families a chance to have fun cooking new recipes together, which are tasty, nutritious, and affordable.

There are also some great tips on how to stay healthy, prevent food waste and other support available that may be of interest.

Who can receive a box?

The project is open to any families eligible for Healthy Start, living in the Devon County Council area.

The eligibility criteria is below:

  • Being pregnant or having at least one child under four


  • Receiving any of the following:
    • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
    • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

Families will also be eligible if one of the following applies:

  • Under 18 and pregnant, even if not claiming any benefits
  • Claim income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
  • Receive Working Tax Credit run-on only (received in the 4 weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week)

There are a limited number of boxes available so this will be on a first come first serve basis.

Referrals will be accepted up until 24 September at 12 noon.

How do families order a box?

Families can order a box directly by completing this form.

This form will close when all boxes are allocated, or on 24 September midday at the latest.

We hope organisations will help us promote this directly with the families they are in touch with e.g. through direct contacts, email, text or social media.

Which recipes will the box contain?

Families will receive a box with some exciting new recipes to try along with the fruit and vegetables to make them.

The produce included in the box will enable families to make the following recipes:

  • Singapore Style Stir Fry Noodles
  • Mighty Minestrone Soup
  • Garden Pie
  • Tasty Tagine with Butternut Squash
  • Easy Omelette Bites
  • Creamy Rice Pudding with Autumn Fruit Swirl

Each recipe will have tips on:

  • how to swap or add ingredients (including meat and fish)
  • healthy eating
  • how to introduce infants to solid food
  • how to prevent food waste
  • how to get children safely involved in preparation

How will boxes be delivered?

Boxes will be delivered directly to the homes of families by the suppliers Devon Norse / Total Produce.

All boxes will be delivered between 18 and 31 October.

Shipping information will be provided directly to families, so up to date email addresses are helpful where possible.

What equipment will families need?

  • Oven
  • Frying Pan
  • Spatula / wooden spoon
  • Cutlery
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Saucepan
  • Ovenproof dish
  • Grater
  • Muffin tray (optional)

How will this be evaluated?

We will be seeking feedback directly from families. Feedback can be provided using this form.

Any families who send feedback will be entered into a prize draw to win £60 of supermarket vouchers.

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

Professionals should complete the MASH contact form.

If it’s an emergency call 999