Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has promised to add an extra GBP2 to Government-issued food vouchers that could help more than half a million people have access to nutritious meals. Customers who redeem the Government's Healthy Start voucher when shopping in Sainsbury's will automatically receive a coupon worth an extra GBP2 to use towards fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables during their next shop. The 12-week scheme has the backing of Manchester United football star Marcus Rashford, who is a leading campaigner against food poverty.
Healthy Start vouchers are provided by the UK Government to low-income pregnant women and families in England with a child under the age of four.
The scheme provides eligible families with a voucher worth GBP3.10 to spend on cows' milk, infant formula milk, fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables as well fresh, dried and tinned pulses with no added fat, sugar and salt. Redeemable in 552 Sainsbury's supermarkets from February 15, the coupon will automatically generate at checkout meaning there is no additional action needed from the customer.
Where to get help if you're struggling
You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141 Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression.
No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy.
Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58 Ruth Cranston, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, commented: "The effects of the pandemic have been far reaching so it is crucial that we support families that may be struggling at this time. "At Sainsbury's, we want to support those in our communities who need it most, which is why we're topping up the Government's Healthy Start vouchers to make sure as many people as possible have access to nutritious food.
"Alongside our ongoing partnerships with FareShare and local food banks, we hope this goes some way to help people through this difficult time." Sainsbury's is a member of Marcus Rashford's Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses working together to end child food poverty. The England international added: "When forming the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, there was an overwhelmingly strong appetite from the food industry to play an active role in combating child food poverty across the UK.
"I am really proud of the commitment members such as Sainsbury's have shown in recent months to achieve this. Childhood development is a key focus, making sure nutritional needs are met to support growth, and overall health. "My greatest ambition is to see children starting life on an equal playing field, regardless of the area they grow up in.
This top-up is a step in the right direction and will make a big difference in guaranteeing children get everything they need to conquer daily challenges."