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Craven District Council joins forces with local pharmacies to support Healthy Lifestyles Programme

Craven residents are being encouraged to join the Healthy Lifestyles Programme at Craven Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre by local pharmacists.

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The Healthy Lifestyles Programme provides 12 weeks free access to advice and support to help people to maintain a healthier lifestyle, including nutritional advice, exercise classes, and concessionary use of facilities at the Craven Pool and Fitness Centre.

It was launched last July and a number of pharmacies have now jumped on board with the scheme and are handing out leaflets encouraging people to sign up.

Jonathan Taylor, the pharmacist at Carleton Pharmacy, said: "We are often asked for information and advice on losing weight. This free 12-week programme that combines nutritional advice with exercise seems like a great way for our customers to benefit and improve their health.

"Once I heard about this scheme I was keen to have details of the programme available for customers visiting our pharmacy. It's particularly useful that they can refer themselves to the scheme without needing to visit a GP."

Kerry McMullen, 42, a private tutor and violin teacher from Skipton, lost 17.6 pounds in 12 weeks with the scheme, which she joined after seeing posters in the gym.

"I wanted to lose a bit of weight. I was already coming to the gym here and I had tried to lose weight before and it wasn't going, so I thought I'd try this," she said.

"The weekly support was really helpful. They do weigh you but it's done privately so it's not too embarrassing. They give information about nutrition and about portion sizes and healthy lifestyles, thinking about choices you make when you eat out.

"The exercise was tailored to each person's needs in the class - there were people there in their 80s and people in their 20s."

To qualify for the programme, people have to be over 18, living in Craven, with a BMI of over 25. Residents can now refer themselves to the scheme rather than relying on a health professional to do so.

Funding for the programme has been provided by North Yorkshire County Council's Public Health Team to help people to manager their weight to avoid such issues as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other health conditions.

Participants have a number of goals that they need to try and achieve along the way, including a 3% weight loss target at the end of the 12 weeks and a 5% weight loss target after six months.

If they achieve a minimum of 3% weight loss after twelve weeks, they are given a free 1 month swim pass and if they achieve a 5 % weight loss after 6 months they receive a £20 membership card to use against their chosen activity.

Neil Harrison, Assistant Manager at Craven Pool & Fitness Centre, said: "This scheme is proving very useful for those residents who are taking part. We'd like to see more people taking up this opportunity to improve their health and fitness, and reduce their bodyweight.

"If you think you may be eligible to take part in this programme, please refer yourself or ask your health professional for a referral."

For further information please contact Craven Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre on 01756 792805 or complete the online application form on the website at www.cravendc.gov.uk/Healthylifestyles