Healthy Start vitamins scheme
The Healthy Start vitamins scheme provides free or low-cost vitamins to families in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
About the scheme
Healthy Start vitamins are designed to prevent vitamin D deficiency, which cannot always be avoided with healthy diet alone. Around a third of children are thought to be vitamin D deficient, which can result in soft bones and rickets, leaving a child vulnerable to physical injury and preventing bones from growing properly.
Richmond has low levels of uptake of Healthy Start vitamins. The scheme has been relaunched with a greater number of pick up locations and cheaper prices, and health professionals are encouraging people to take advantage of the scheme.
The Department of Health recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of 5 should take a vitamin supplement containing vitamin D.
- Breastfed babies whose mothers took vitamins during pregnancy should start being given vitamins at 6 months old
- Breastfed babies whose mothers did not take vitamins during pregnancy should start being given vitamins at 1 month old
- Formula-fed babies should start being given vitamins once they are drinking less than 500ml of formula milk daily.
- Children should continue to have the vitamins until they are 5 years old
What is available
Currently the scheme offers:
- Vitamin tablets for pregnant and breastfeeding women containing folic acid and vitamins C and D
- Vitamin drops for babies and children under 5 containing vitamins A, C and D
The vitamins are free for families in receipt of means tested benefits.
People who are not on means tested benefits get the vitamins at low cost, £1 for the mothers’ tablets and £1.50 for the children’s drops.
How to access the vitamins
if you are in receipt of means tested benefits, you need to apply for vouchers. You can do this in several ways:
- Apply online
- Ask your health visitor or midwife for an application leaflet
- Call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823, and they will post the application
See the Healthy Start website for full instructions on how to apply.
People who are not in receipt of means tested do not need to apply for vouchers to purchase the low cost vitamins.
You can redeem you vouchers or purchase the low cost vitamins at the following locations.
- Barnes Children’s Centre, SW13 9AE
- Centre House, SW14 8LP
- Ham Children’s Centre, TW10 7BG
- Ham Clinic, TW10
- Heathfield Children’s Centre, TW2 6EX
- Norman Jackson Children’s Centre, TW12 1QU
- Stanley Children’s Centre, TW11 8UH
- Tangley Park Children’s Centre, TW12 3XB
- Teddington Health & Social Care Centre, TW11 0LR
- Whitton Corner Health Centre, TW2 6LD
For more information about the Healthy Start vitamins scheme, please see the Healthy Start website, or contact Anthony Nichols:
Phone: 020 8734 3447
Up to: Children's services
Updated: 22 September 2020