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Healthy Start Scheme needs more funding

THE value of the Healthy Start Scheme needs to increase by 20% to compensate for increases in the cost of food, new Local Government Association (LGA) analysis has found. The value of the scheme, which helps pregnant women or families with children under the age of four with the cost of food and milk, was last reviewed in 2020.

Latest analysis by the LGA of food inflation has found that:-

  • The support for families with a baby under the age of one should rise from:- £8.50 per week to £10.47 a week, with councils warning that the current scheme does not meet the average price of any available first infant formula milk.

  • The support for families with a baby between the ages of one and four should rise from:- £4.25 to £5.24 a week.

  • The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is asking for the Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to uplift the value of Healthy Start in line with current inflation and commit to review the value of the scheme every six months.

  • Latest figures show that out of those eligible for Healthy Start in England, 70% have taken up the scheme. This is a 7% increase from the start of the year thanks to the hard work of councils and partners to promote it in their communities.

  • However, 141,970 eligible pregnant women, babies and infants missed out on the scheme in October 2023 alone, equivalent to the entire population of Blackpool.

  • New LGA analysis shows that it is those families who have less confidence managing money or those who cannot speak English well or at all who are less likely to be taking advantage of Healthy Start.

  • The analysis also shows that councils across the country have worked hard to drive up uptake in areas with a higher percentage of lone parents not in employment as well as driving an increase in those with long term disabilities taking up the scheme.

  • The LGA is asking for the Government to expand access to this scheme to include all children who are facing food insecurity and poverty, which would help in addressing diet related inequalities resulting from low incomes.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board said:- "Healthy Start is a vitally important programme which has helped families get access to healthy and affordable food since it was established nearly 20 years ago. However, the scheme has not kept pace with rising food inflation and does not fully meet the value of essential items such as baby formula. We are asking the Government to consider using the Autumn Statement to uplift the value of the scheme to bring it in line with inflation and review every 6 months. This is an essential way of ensuring the neediest babies, children and pregnant people get the nutrients they need."

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Help fundraise for Sefton 4 Good with a Harry Potter Quiz

GET your quills at the ready and join us for Harry Potter and the Sefton 4 Good Quiz night at Southport Market. Join us for a magical evening of wizardry and trivia at Sefton 4 Good's Harry Potter Quiz on:- Thursday, 30 November 2023, at Southport Market. This is a fantastic opportunity for all Potterheads to test their knowledge on the enchanting world created by J.K. Rowling!

Doors open at 6 pm, and the quiz starts promptly at:- 7 pm.

Gather your fellow muggles, form a team of up to eight people, and put on your thinking caps as you delve into the spellbinding realm of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and the Forbidden Forest. Expect a fun and challenging quiz with questions about the characters, spells, magical creatures, and the thrilling adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Dress up in your best wizarding robes and represent your Hogwarts house with pride. Prizes will be awarded to the top performing team, so make sure you bring your:- "A game." We will also have a prize for the best dressed, best team name and a raffle!

Harry Potter and the Sefton 4 Good Quiz night has been organised to help raise money for Sefton 4 Good; a Sefton based charity that gives grants to local grassroots charitable groups and organisations.

Tickets are:- £3 per person. Pre booking essential to not miss out! Teams of up to 8 people. Families welcome.

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