Thousands of shoppers can get vouchers worth £5.25 to help cut grocery bills

PARENTS with healthy start vouchers could get now extra cash when they shop at around 200 stores across the south of England.

Southern Co-op will top up the vouchers which are designed to help those on low incomes with an extra £1.

The vouchers are worth £4.25 per week, following an increase from £3.10 back in April.

That means with the extra £1, parents will have £5.25 to spend in total, adding up to £273 over a year.

If you're eligible for two vouchers a week it's worth twice that: £10.50 per week or £546 over a year.

Healthy start vouchers are dished out to families and soon-to-be mums who are on low incomes or certain benefits.

What help is available to parents for childcare costs?

CHILDCARE can be a costly business. Here is how you can get help.

  • 30 hours free childcare  – Parents of three and four-year-olds can apply for 30 hours free childcare a week.
    To qualify you must work at least 16 hours a week at the national living or minimum wage and earn less than £100,000 a year.
  • Tax credits – For children under 20, some families can get help with childcare costs.
  • Tax-free childcare – Available to working families and the self-employed, for every £8 you put in the government will add an extra £2.

They can be used to buy either plain cow’s milk, plain fresh or frozen vegetables and infant formula.

Southern Co-op has more than 200 stores across the south of England, including Hampshire, Devon, Bristol and Surrey – you can find your nearest store here.

To get Healthy Start vouchers, you must be pregnant or have a child under the age of four and receive any of these benefits:

  • child tax credits (if your family’s annual income is £16,190)
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • income support
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • pension credit
  • universal credit (but only if your family earns £408 or less per month from employment)
  • working tax credits (but only if your family is receiving the 4 week ‘run-on’ payment)

Parents with kids under one year old can get two vouchers each week.

They can be used to buy either plain cow’s milk, plain fresh or frozen vegetables and infant formula.

The vouchers can be spent in supermarkets, corner shops, greengrocers, market stalls, pharmacies, food co-ops and milk floats or vans.

East of England Co-ops also top up healthy start vouchers at more than 100 stores located in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Parents will get an extra 75p, meaning they can get £5 worth of groceries a week, or £10 if they are entitled to two.

Other supermarkets have previously topped up the vouchers too, including Sainsbury's and Waitrose, so it's worth checking different stores if you can.

We'll also keep you updated if any supermarkets are offering the top ups again ahead of the summer holidays.

You can find your nearest shops that accept them using the Healthy Start tool on its website.

You can apply for the vouchers by getting a form from the Healthy Start website.

Here's how to claim up to £2,000 a year for kid’s summer holiday clubs and childcare.

Thousands of Child Trust Funds have gone unclaimed this year – and they are worth £1,500 per child on average.

Support for pregnant mums includes a £500 grant to help with cost of new baby – we explain how to apply.

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