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Bull Ring Markets Healthy Start Programme

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Getting off to a Healthy Start thanks to Bull Ring Markets
Bull Ring Markets have announced their participation in a nationwide scheme to encourage families from low-income households in the Midlands to eat healthily by accepting government vouchers in return for fresh milk, fresh fruit and vegetables bought from the market.

The Markets, situated on Edgbaston Street, have signed up to Healthy Start, a government initiative to provide children and mums to be who qualify, the opportunity to exchange vouchers for fresh milk, fresh fruit and vegetables.

The vouchers worth £3.10 each mean that qualifying pregnant women and children over one and under four will get one voucher every week. Children under one year old will get two vouchers a week. Vouchers can be exchanged at Bull Ring Markets - one of 20,000 retailers across the UK who are participating in Healthy Start.

The Markets Department and the Traders believe that the Bull Ring Markets have an important role, and responsibility, to educate and encourage healthy eating and this scheme gives the opportunity for low-income families in the Midlands weekly access to the freshest fruit and vegetables available in the heart of the city at the most competitive prices.

We aim to start educating children at the earliest age about the health benefits of regularly eating fresh fruit and vegetables, which will hopefully have a lifetime influence on them. We've recently started to hold tours of the markets for inner city school children, and are keen to encourage more schools to join these tours and learn more about where food comes from, and its associated health benefits.

Schools interested in arranging an informative and fun visit to Bull Ring Markets should contact Mick Taylor on 0121 303 0258. mick.a.taylor@birmingham.gov.uk

More information about the scheme, as well as recipes and healthy eating tips, is available on the Healthy Start website www.healthystart.nhs.uk

Who Qualifies

Healthy Start is open to pregnant women (once they are ten weeks pregnant) and children under four years old in families on the following benefits:

* Income Support
* Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
* Child Tax Credit (without Working Tax Credit) with an annual family income of below £16,040 (2009/10 figure).

It is also open to all pregnant women under 18 years of age even if they are not getting any benefits or tax credits.

Vouchers are worth £3.10. Pregnant women and children aged over one and under four will receive one voucher per week for each child/pregnancy. Children under one year old will receive two vouchers per child, worth a total of £6.20. If a baby is born early, they will receive the two vouchers until one year from their expected date of delivery ensuring they get extra help for longer. The value of the vouchers will be adjusted periodically to ensure they continue to keep pace with the retail prices of milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula.

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