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£142,000 worth of NHS food vouchers unclaimed in Islington

PUBLISHED: 15:01 18 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:01 18 November 2019

One third of low income families are missing out on vouchers for fresh food. Picture: Mike Brooke

One third of low income families are missing out on vouchers for fresh food. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Islington Council has been rated the best at promoting an NHS food vouchers project - but only a third of the eligible families have claimed them.

More than £142,000 worth of the Healthy Start coupons had not been used in the borough as of October, despite the Beyond the Food Bank report by London Food Poverty praising the council's marketing.

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The vouchers - currently worth £3.10 per week - are available to pregnant women, new mums and young children to spend on milk, fresh fruit and veg, and vitamins.

Data from Healthy Start reveals that in September this year, only 52 per cent of those eligible in London claimed the vouchers, a 12.9pc drop from the previous year. Poor promotion has been blamed for families missing out on £4.5m worth of meals every year.

Islington Council responded by urging local food traders at the Nag's Head Market to accept the vouchers in an effort to increase awareness and uptake.

As a result of this council-led project, local uptake had risen to 66pc by October.

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