Convenience stores across Scotland are urging the thousands of prepaid food card holders to use it in their stores as they join forces with the organisation behind the scheme to boost its use.
Social Security Scotland’s Best Start Foods card, which can help expectant mothers and new parents buy healthy food for their children, can be used in more than 2,200 local shops.
Those shops are set to promote the scheme as part of the partnership with Scottish Grocers Federation Healthy Living Programme, and will encourage the 40,000 cardholders to use it in their local shop.
David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland, said: “Local convenience shops can sometimes be the lifeblood of their communities.
“This initiative means owners and staff can offer support to their customers, ensuring they use all of the financial support available to them.
“I would encourage anyone who has a Best Start Foods card to check their balance and to make sure they are using it regularly.
“As well as the smaller local stores the card can be used in most big supermarkets and online.”
Those with the card are given up to £39.60 every four weeks and can use it to buy things like milk, infant formula, fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, pulses, and fresh eggs.
Among the chains involved in the new scheme are Spar, Keystore, Nisa and Premier.
The network of small shops promoting Best Start Foods spans the whole of Scotland including the Shetland Isles in the north to the Scottish Borders in the south and from Harris, Stornoway in the west to Peterhead in the east.
The promotional scheme is set to be launched at a branch of Keystore at Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
Chris Watson, owner of the town’s Ness Avenue store it will be launched at, said: “I’ve been in convenience retail for over 30 years and times are really hard for my customers.
“If I can highlight the Best Start scheme and customers can benefit from it, it can only be a good thing.”
He has run the store since 1988, when he took it over from his father.