ood campaigner and England footballer Marcus Rashford has asked healthcare professionals to encourage more low income parents to sign up for food help.
Writing in the British Medical Journal he says more than 40 per cent of those eligible for vouchers are still not registered. He shares a calculator professionals can use to assess whether patients qualify, before then pointing them in the right direction to access help.
He says, “I think I speak on behalf of every single member of the British public when I say you are the true superheroes of our time.
“Money, fame, popularity has proved worthless throughout this pandemic, and we are all eternally grateful to your selfless and tireless acts. If it was hard for us watching, I can’t imagine what you were experiencing on the inside.”
And then goes on to say that healthcare professionals are able to highlight the Healthy Start scheme to eligible parents.
“We need every single one of you to help us reach those most in need”
“A true difference can only be made via a grassroots approach so we have developed, with help from the NHS, a simple to use calculator to determine eligibility, which we would love for you to use,” he writes.
“The National Food Strategy, published on 15 July 2021, recommended an expansion of Healthy Start to allow more families living in poverty to benefit from it.
“The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health also wants to see the Healthy Start voucher scheme expand.
“I wholeheartedly support this recommendation, but this must go hand in hand with increasing awareness of the scheme, and guaranteeing that all children get the best start in life.
“In conclusion, and not to beat around the bush, we need you – every single one of you – to help us reach those most in need in our communities, especially given the planned digitisation of the scheme this autumn, which will disproportionately disadvantage those without easy access to the internet.”