The application process for Healthy Start vouchers is temporarily changing to speed up help to families.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and the pressures on health professionals at this time, new legislation has recently been passed that will not insist on the need for a registered health professional's signature and stamp on Part B of the Healthy Start vouchers' application form.
In its place a family must send a cover letter with their application which must include the applicant's name, date of the application, reason for Part B not being signed and the applicant's signature.
To help families write their cover letter Tameside Council has produced a template 'standard cover letter which families can use and amend the details to reflect their application. The cover letter needs to be completed and submitted (or sent in the post) with the completed Healthy Start application form. The new process comes into effect from Monday 6 April.
The vouchers are worth up to £6.20 a week per child to support families, subject to eligibility criteria, to be spent on milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables or they can be exchanged for free Healthy Start vitamins for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children aged from six months to four years.
Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: "We are in unprecedented times due to the spread of coronavirus. These vouchers will help many families in Tameside who are struggling financially and may also experience food insecurity (or food poverty if easier to understand) due to the current crisis.
"This new legislation will speed up the application process from 6 April whilst freeing up health care professional's valuable time which now needs to be spent coping with the extreme pressures and demands of COVID-19."
Further information about the scheme, eligibility criteria and information on how to download, print and submit a paper application form can be found at: www.tameside.gov.uk/healthystart
Residents who submit a completed application form prior to 6 April, without Part B signed, must send a cover letter with their application and may have to wait longer than usual for their application to be processed.
For further information and advice contact the Healthy Start helpline on: 0345 607 6823