The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged retailers to sign up for the Healthy Start Voucher scheme, which provides low-income pregnant women and children under 4 years old with appropriate nutrition.

The government initiative, introduced across the UK in 2006, gives Healthy Start vouchers to those who are in receipt of qualifying benefits. These vouchers can be used to purchase milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk from local shops which have signed up to the scheme.

Currently only one third of independent retailers take advantage of the scheme, ACS noted in a statement.

The trade body has developed a new animation to raise awareness and encourage retailers to join the scheme.

“By accepting Healthy Start vouchers in their store, retailers can provide another vital service to their local community. After finding that only a third of independent retailers accept Healthy Start vouchers we are embarking on work to raise awareness about the scheme and encourage more retailers to sign up,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.

More details can be found here.