Healthy Start families

The City Child and Family Centre champions healthy families and offers information, workshops, visitations and support on breastfeeding, dental health and healthy eating champion. 

At the Centre, there are:

  • Health Visitor Baby Clinic every two weeks
  • Drop-in sessions delivered by the Family Lives Service offering early help Parenting and Behaviour Advice.
  • Speech & Language monthly drop-in for advice on children's communication development. Please be advised that appointments need to be booked.

Our designated Family Support Worker, Georgina, is based at the City Child and Family Centre and provides one-to-one support and outreach to Square Mile Families. If you need any additional support, contact Georgina via email or telephone: 07912041669.

Here's what you need to know about #GroupAStrep and what to look out for. Parents should trust their own judgement when their child is poorly.

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Pregnant women, new mums and children up to 4 years can all get free Healthy Start

Healthy Start Vitamins contain all the essential vitamins that our body needs for healthy growth and maintaining a good immune system during pregnancy, post birth and in the early years.

Healthy Start Vitamins are suitable for Vegetarian, Kosher and Halal diets, and are free from milk, egg, gluten, soya and peanut residue. Healthy Start Vitamins are suitable from birth.

Visit the HENRY website in the related links for registration.

Healthy Start is a means-tested scheme that provides pregnant women and mothers of children under four years with free vouchers to spend on milk, fresh and frozen fruit, vegetables, infant formula and vitamins.

To qualify for Healthy Start you must be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old and you or your family must have an annual family income of £16,190 or less (2013/14) and receive any of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless your family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only*).

You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.

*Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week.

Visit the Healthy Start NHS website.

If you are expecting or have recently given birth, advice and information is available here.

The Start 4 Life Q&A has just gone live which offers lots of useful information for expectant and new parents

  • Pregnancy
  • Post- Birth

Breast feeding mothers can also access support with any feeding issues they may have by emailing:

If you need any additional support, our Family Outreach Worker is available via email or telephone: 07912041669. Georgina is based at the City Child and Family Centre and is available for information and advice.

How to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Safer sleep for babies, Support for families

The Lullaby Trust's safer sleep advice gives simple steps for how you can sleep your baby to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is commonly known as cot death. It can give you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time.

Their advice is based on strong scientific evidence and should be followed for all sleep periods, not just at night.

If you have any questions about SIDS or safer sleep, please call our information line on 0808 802 6869 (lines open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm).

For more information for other carers, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or further families members, follow this link: Information for other carers - The Lullaby Trust

Coping with the trauma of sudden bereavement
For advice on how to cope with the trauma of sudden bereavement, see this document which you can download at the end of this page.

If you are not sure if your child has had all their routine vaccinations, check their personal health record (Red Book) or contact the GP surgery.

Pre-school jabs

  • MMR1 at age one year
  • MMR2 at three years four months
  • Booster at three years four months

Starting primary school jabs

  • 2nd dose of MMR
  • Four in one Pre-school boosters

Starting secondary school jabs

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella

You can also now register for a digital Red-book online for easy access to your baby’s details including dates for vaccinations. Visit the eRedbook website

Parents are being urged to keep up to date with their children’s vaccinations during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Recent data from the GP record system in Hackney shows that there has been a decrease of 37.6% in immunisation consultations by City and Hackney practices, compared to this time last year (during March and April). Since remarkably fewer infant vaccinations were given, this poses a significant risk to children's health, as vaccination protects from a number of diseases that cannot be prevented by social distancing, some of which are potentially life threatening.

Local health professionals want to remind parents that it is vitally important that parents and carers contact their GP as soon as possible to book in and attend appointments for baby health checks and immunizations.

I begin with the name of Allah, the Kind the Caring

The flu vaccine that contains porcine gelatine is a simple nasal spray that is particularly useful and easy to administer to children. It is administered to children who are susceptible to flu and have other problems like asthma which is exacerbated by the flu. It has been shown to reduce A &E admissions and other complications considerably.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the nature of the porcine gelatine. This is a pure product and is exactly same as the cow gelatine, goat or any other animals’ gelatine. It has same protein structure, same properties and same colour, texture and taste. You would not be able to distinguish the porcine gelatine from the others. Considering this fact it is argued that it doesn’t matter what its origin is. A similar fatwa was issued by Mufti Ali Jumma the Grand Mufti of Egypt about Pig products including insulin.

Secondly, this is for a medical purpose, it’s not consumption or eating. The nasal vaccine is important preventative measure that has been shown empirically to reduce lot of suffering in vulnerable children. This then falls under the well-known category of ‘darurah’ necessity, required and needed. The Quran teaches: “He has made unlawful for you the carcass, the blood, pork and animals over which any name other than Allah’s has been invoked. However, if one is dying of hunger then a small amount can be eaten in order to survive, Allah is Forgiver and Kind.” (Al Baqara:173) From this jurist have reasoned that when something that is forbidden is necessary for survival then it becomes permissible. So, if porcine gelatine was forbidden in this situation, it becomes permissible. The other rule from this is: “What is permissible for a particular need can be used according to the amount required.” Thirdly, mynfatwa is based on this powerful principle Istihala found in books of Fiqh: “Istihala means the change of a substance as a result of its purification and the removal of all the impurities around it. Scholars are agreed that when alcohol changes into vinegar it is considered pure. The majority of Hanafi, Maliki scholars and Imam Ahmed said that istihala renders impure substance pure. As mentioned above, there is no scholarly contention on the purity of an alcohol that has turned into vinegar. Another example the scholars give is the blood of deer, when it is converted into musk it becomes an expensive fragrance. (p1738 Encyclopaedia of Fatwa published by Dar la Ifta Al-Misriyya)

Considering this evidence, we conclude the nasal flu vaccine containing porcine gelatine is permissible for use.

And Allah knows best.

Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari
Director of British Fatwa Council