Healthy Start Vouchers

Healthy Start is vouchers that you get if you are pregnant or have a young child / children under four.

If you are pregnant you get one voucher a week worth £3.10

For each baby under the age of one, you get two vouchers a week worth a total £6.20

For each child aged over one and under four, your family gets one voucher a week worth £3.10

You also get coupons for vitamins, tablets for you and drops for your baby / child.

The vouchers can be spent on milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg and infant formula milk at local shops.

You also have to qualify

  • Income support
  • Income based jobseekers allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Child tax credit
  • You can claim if you are under 18 even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.

Website:           or Healthy Start Helpline     0845 607 6823

You can get the application forms from the community midwife at booking, GP surgery and/ Or your local Sure start midwife.

The Healthy Start form is a small form that has to be filled out and has to be signed by a registered Nurse, Midwife or GP. It then is sent to Warrington but you get a freepost envelope with the form.

Little Hands Sure Start has a supply of forms here at the centre and you can contact the Sure Start Midwife (Louise) to schedule a time to get it signed.

Ring Little Hands Sure Start – on:

028 71 367524Rosemount Base

028 71 267524 – Ringfort Base

Tips for going back to school

Ease your children into the new term with these tips:

We all know it’s coming, so why not make the annual back to Playgroup/Nursery/2 YOP/Creche/Sure Start that bit easier with some basic planning before September:

  • During the holidays keep mentioning school naturally in conversation in a positive way. It’ll make the new term feel less of a big deal.
  • If bedtimes have got later, and mornings more relaxed, try to get back into schooldays several days before you have to.
  • Make your move early – shops are stocked now so take advantage of staff expertise and fantastic bargains if your child needs a uniform. (if you need support with a uniform grant as the Sure start centre for guidance to see if you are eligible)
  • Aspire the night before to get clothing ready and place school bag by the door before bedtime.
  • Set the breakfast table the night before.
  • Leave sufficient time to prepare a packed lunch in the morning (if applicable) Plan ahead your 5 day packed lunch menu. (Think healthy eating) Sure Start staff can help you with your menu and budget.
  • Set your alarm clock and leave plenty of time to walk, or drive or to be ready at the bus collection point and not leave others late.
  • Don’t plan a really busy week for yourself once the children are back at 2 YOP/Creche/ASC/Nursery/Playgroup. The first week back can be physically and emotionally exhausting – for you as much as the children! Do something special for yourself such as shopping in peace or having your hair cut, to celebrate all the hard work you have done as a parent so far!

If you need other support please contact the Family Team at 02871 367524 and they will come out to your home and give you guidance on bedtime routines, or support with children who are anxious in starting a new venue/setting or school.

Summer Holiday Fun

Knowing how to keep children amused through the school holidays can sometimes be daunting for parents, especially when things cost so much. Family Lives have come up with some top tips to help take some of the stress out of it, and keep everyone happy without needing to spend a fortune.

Going out and about

During the school holidays, there may be lots going on in your local area that your family can enjoy, often for free. Check the websites of your local council and tourist information centres for local days out, or scan the local papers and community centres to see what's going on in your area. Visit your local library and look for adverts of events. Many libraries hold events such as story time, and arts and crafts days. Libraries are also a great source of activity in themselves, with plenty of books and computers to keep children busy, plus they often have story time for toddlers and parents.

  • Check to see if your local council swimming pool offers free or reduced-fee entrance in the school holidays.
  • Museums and galleries often have new exhibitions and events running in the summer. Many art galleries put on special events for children and families - this could be just the thing to stimulate your child's artistic streak.
  • Check out your local leisure centre - there are plenty of indoor sports and activities they can participate in.

Staying at home

Of course, on some days, you will find yourselves stuck at home, but that doesn't mean anyone has to be bored. You could take the opportunity to spend some time sharing a favourite game or story with your children or, if you want some more inspiration, try some of these activities.

  • Arrange a movie day - choose a couple of favourite films, get some popcorn and put your feet up with the kids.
  • Get cooking - pick a recipe with the kids, go shopping for ingredients and cook something together that you can enjoy eating afterwards. Depending on your child’s age and interest, this could be anything from a simple sponge cake to a mushroom stroganoff! Dig out the puzzles, games and books and give them a go. Some good old-fashioned entertainment can be really fun.
  • Have a look in your cupboards and play dress up with your old clothes. Sort through your clothes together and recycle the ones that you never wear and the stuff your little one's grown out of.
  • Encourage the kids to put on a play or a magic show. They could even use the dress up clothes and props from around the house. If you have a camera, you can even film it, for great memories.
  • Build a den with the kids - if the weather is ok, you could even risk doing this outside! All you need is some boxes or sofa cushions, a few blankets, and a bit of imagination.
  • Create a scrapbook together using photos from your family album, or torn from magazines.

The great outdoors (and the garden!)

Sunny days are great for simple activities like picnics and ball games. This can be done as close to home as in the back garden!

  • Organise a treasure hunt around your home and garden with clues and treats for the children to find
  • Hold your own mini Olympics with games that require little equipment... a sack race with pillowcases, a tug of war with a dressing gown belt! Use your imagination.
  • If outside is dry, wrap up and go to the park or a nice walk somewhere quiet with the children with a flask of hot chocolate - sure to go down a treat!
  • If you have a tent, you could arrange a camping trip in your garden with the children for one night! 
  • Kites are great if it is a windy day and they can be bought from bargain shops very cheaply

Making your own fun

Be creative - make things together like greeting cards or use beads to make some jewellery.

  • Have an arts and craft day and get some canvas and paints, they can be bought in bargain shops for as little as a pound and use paints or crayons and the kids can hang up their creations in their rooms.
  • Make a list of your favourite childhood games - old favourites such as hopscotch, putting on a show or marbles won't cost the earth and your children will enjoy you reminiscing!
  • In the evenings get the kids to design a game that you can make the next day - give them ideas to keep it simple such as a paper boat race in the paddling pool or homemade skittles using a tennis ball and empty toilet rolls.
  • Have you ever thought about Origami? All you need is paper and instructions which can be found online, will keeps kids amused and they will learn a new skill

Don't try and fill every minute of every day. Encourage your children's imagination and independence - let them play in their rooms or the garden.

Keep Children amused during the summer holidays.



Chalk is easily washed off pavements and children will love having such an unusual canvas.  Draw a few outlines of people on your driveway or the pavement outside your house, then the children can draw on the clothes.  Or draw circles with different numbered points written inside them, grab some damp sponges and see who can throw theirs inside the circles.  The winner is the person who scores the most points with three throws.  (Supervise carefully if playing near a road)

Look for Gruffalo footprints!

Challenge kids to keep their eyes open for possible tracks that could indicate the Gruffalo has passed by on route to its lair.  Great fun for park walks.

Hold an archaeological ice dig.

Freeze some small toys in a block of ice by half filling a plastic container with water, adding the toys and popping in the freezer.  Top up with more water and freeze again.  Give children squeezy tubes filled with lukewarm water and a little salt, plus some plastic spoons, and let them excavate the hidden treasure.

Have a sunflower growing competition.

At the start of the holidays buy a packet of sunflower seeds, let all the family plant their own and see whose sunflower grows the tallest by the end of the summer.

Build a Fort

This project is great for rainy days and all you need is two chairs, a bed sheet for draping across them and some clothes pegs to keep the sheet in place.  Feeling more creative?  Add a moat around the fort’s perimeter with blue tissue paper, and a few cardboard fish shapes (cut from the back of cereal boxes).  Anyone wishing to enter the fort will need to guess the secret password.

Indoor Footie

Use plastic containers laid on their sides to create a goal at each end of your kitchen table.  Players must use a drinking straw to blow a ping pong ball into their opponent’s goal.  If the weather’s nice you could fill a paddling pool with water, add miniature boats and use the straws to blow them across the surface – first boat to reach the other side wins.

Make a caterpillar rock garden

Get the children to hunt for rocks or large stones, then paint each one in a different pattern.  Think stripes, polka dots and swirls all in different colours.  They’ll also need to paint a face on one of the rocks, and stick on two twig antennae, before arranging the rocks into a caterpillar shape.

Compete in a mini golf tournament

Challenge the children to create a crazy golf course in the garden using objects such as hula hoops, slinkies and kitchen roll tubes as obstacles to manoeuvre around.  No plastic golf clubs?  Use rolled up newspapers to tap the balls instead.

Create your own Ice Cream Factory

Line up a range of fun toppings, such as mini marshmallows, sprinkles, chopped fruit, maple syrup and sauces in ramekins or muffin cases, plus some ice cream, and let the children build their own sundae.  Encourage older children to create one for someone else, as this will get them thinking about what others like too.

Wash the car

While you might think it a chore, washing the car is surprisingly fun for small people.  Fill a bucket with soapy water, give them a sponge and let them go wild.  Just keep hold of the hose and give them an occasional flick with the water to get them giggling.

Create a reading corner

Suggest to your children that they help you make a cosy reading den, filled with comfy cushions, beanbags, a big pile of books and a torch or colour changing lamp for evenings – they’ll be raring to try it out.  If your child is aged 4-11, you might like to sign them up to the free Summer Reading Challenge ( which asks children to read six library books of their choice, collecting rewards along the way.

Collect shells

Planning a day out by the coast?  Use a bucket and spade to scoop up shells on the beach, then take them home, given them a rinse, and use to decorate greeting cards, pictures, photo frames or jewellery boxes.

Open a bug hotel

Help children to fill a jam jar with twigs and leaves, then go bug hunting to find their guests.  Make sure an adult carefully puts some air holes in the lid.  Don’t forget to let the bugs ‘check out’ after their stay.

Create an audio map

Ask the children to find an outdoor spot, close their eyes and listen to the sounds.  Ask them to draw what they think is making the sounds, and where they are coming from.  It could be a dog barking to the left or trees swaying in the wind to the right.

Thread a daisy chain

A traditional summertime skill that children will use throughout their childhood

  1. Look for daisies with short, thick stems.
  2. Use your thumbnail to split the daisy stem in the middle (be careful not to split it all the way to the bottom).
  3. Thread the stem of a second daisy through the slit. Repeat the process.
  4. When the chain is long enough, thread the stem of the last daisy through a small slit at the top of the first stem.

Counselling Directory

Counselling Directory was set up by a team who know how difficult it can be to find support. Through our own experiences of mental health issues, we have learnt how important having relevant information is and how the right support can help transform lives. Our team is passionate about counselling and we want to promote the huge benefits talk therapy can have. 

Our website is a confidential service that encourages those in need to seek help and to connect individuals with qualified counsellors in the UK. The site contains information on the common reasons people turn to counselling, as well as articles, news, and events. To ensure the professionalism of our website, all counsellors have provided us with qualifications and insurance cover or proof of membership with a professional body.

Car Seat Regulation

(i-size legislation)

- It’s already in place since 2013 (July)

- Giving it to 2018 (July) to phase in

How is it changed?

- Up to now child seats have front and rear impact support – side support has now been added to seats as research has shown it is needed to increase safety level of child car seats

- Babies must travel rearward facing for at least the first 15 months (in i-size car seats) -Mandatory

- i-size also promotes ISOFIX, which has less chance of being incorrectly fitted than belted car seats 

Twins or Multiple Births

For information and support with twins or multiple births click on the link below

Toileting Support

Little Hands SureStart offer toileting support to parents who are thinking about or beginning to toilet train their child. This can be especially helpful for parents that have children beginning nursery in September.

This support can be provided in the comfort of your own home with individualised resources to make the process easier and more child friendly.

For more information please contact the Family Team on 028 71 267524.