Following the launch of the Consortium’s research paper with the Ulster University Law Clinic in June 2023, Siobhán has been working with Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick and Dr Alexandra Chapman from Ulster University and a group of women from Atlas Women’s Centre on awareness raising around the Healthy Start Scheme in Northern Ireland.
During the research, it was identified that Northern Ireland has the lowest uptake of the NHS Healthy Start Scheme (55%). Healthy Start provides families with a payment card to buy milk, fruit, and vegetables. We heard examples of women who participated in the research who had not heard of the Healthy Start Scheme:
“I didn’t realise about Healthy Start. I was entitled from early in my pregnancy but I can’t get it backdated now. No one told me I could have been getting extra money.”
A small amount of funding has been provided by Ulster University and we are working with an animator to produce a short video to help raise awareness of the Scheme in Northern Ireland. This includes localised images and voices and we are very grateful to the women at Atlas Women’s Centre for helping with this.
Siobhán, Ciara and Alexandra have met with both the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health to discuss this work and hope to arrange a further roundtable meeting with interested parties to plan how to distribute the final video.
Ahead of the video being ready information about the Healthy Start Scheme is available here.