Sure Start is a government programme targeted at parents and children under the age of four living in the most disadvantaged areas. They deliver a wide range of free services which are designed to support healthy pregnancies, children’s learning skills, health and well being as well as social and emotional development. This is a UK wide programme. Currently we have 39 Sure Starts located throughout Northern Ireland, 10 being in Belfast. If you are on a low income and get certain benefits or tax credits, you may be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500. This is a one-off, tax-free payment to help towards the cost of maternity and baby items and you do not have to pay it back.

To qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant there must be no other children in your family and you must get one of the following benefits:

You may also be eligible if you get Support for Mortgage Interest loan payments.

If you already have children under 16, you may still be able to get a grant if your partner is expecting a multiple birth, such as twins or triplets. Consideration is also given if you are adopting.

How to claim

Print out and fill in claim form SF100 (Sure Start). A health professional (doctor, midwife or health visitor) must sign the health professionals’ statement at the back of your claim form. You can also request a claim form from Lisburn Jobs & Benefits office based at 71 Bow Street, Lisburn, BT28 1BJ  or collect one in person from your nearest Social Security / Jobs & Benefits office. You will get a letter telling you if your claim was successful. If you get Universal Credit, you won’t get a decision on your claim until after your next payment.

Important: The date the claim form is received in a Department for Communities office is the date it can consider payment from – not the date you downloaded the claim form.

Useful telephone numbers

Benefits freephone number: 0800 022 4250
Employment Services phone number: 0300 200 7822
Text number: 028 9262 3427 (for deaf and hard of hearing users only)
Fax: 028 9262 3401 (Signing Section) 028 9262 3365 (Vacancy/Admin Section)

If you are transgender and wish to make a claim or have a query, you can email:

This page lists alphabetically Sure Start Partnerships. (10/10/18)

Have you applied for this grant? How did it help? Do you think more schemes like this should be run? Join or start the conversation below.