Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley fruit and veg voucher scheme launched

Barnsley market Image copyright Alexandra Rose Charity
Image caption Barnsley will run the first Rose Voucher pilot scheme outside of London

Food vouchers are to be given to up to 120 families as part of a scheme aimed at encouraging people to eat more fresh produce.

About £30,000 worth of vouchers will be given to people to buy fruit and vegetables at Barnsley Market.

The pilot, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the Alexandra Rose Charity, is the first outside of London.

It aims to help low-income families afford fresh fruit and vegetables and to boost market shopping figures.

The "Rose Voucher" scheme will run alongside other initiatives run by Barnsley Council's Family Centre service, including cooking on a budget and healthy lunchbox schemes.

Councillor Tim Cheetham said: "The vouchers will support families to adopt healthier lifestyles in the crucial years before school starts and the additional support from Family Centres such as cooking classes will also help them develop the skills and confidence to provide their families with the healthiest start."

Similar schemes are already running in the London boroughs of Hackney, Greenwich, and Lambeth.

Barnsley was one of 11 locations in the UK to apply to run the pilot.

Speaking at the launch of the pilot at Barnsley Market, Jonathan Pauling, from the Alexandra Rose Charity, said: "Barnsley stood out because of the fantastic central market offer and the passion, enthusiasm and confidence of local partners.

"Barnsley Council understand that this project is good for families and good for local markets."

Market trader John Slack said: "If it helps people eat healthy, to eat fruit and veg it's got to be good for us, it's got to be good for everybody."

The UK was ranked bottom for the contrast in healthy eating between well-off and poorer children, in a report published by Unicef in April.

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