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Craven District Council

Healthy Lifestyles schemes helps scores of Craven residents lose weight and gain fitness – even in lockdown

Many people have struggled to maintain fitness during lockdown – but Craven District Council’s Healthy Lifestyles programme has been a great success.

Sessions have been delivered online via Zoom during the pandemic, enabling residents to make lifestyle changes and lose weight.

In 2020, despite exceptional circumstances, the Council’s Healthy Lifestyles team has helped 74 people lose at least 5 per cent of their body weight.

62 per cent of those have maintained at least 5 per cent weight loss at 24 weeks.

Steph Harrison, Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator at Craven District Council, said: “We’re really proud of all those who have taken part in the scheme over the last year, in really difficult circumstances.

“The pandemic has really brought it home to people, how important health, fitness and wellbeing is to our lives.

“We hope that this year we can help and support more people become healthier, happier and more able to fight diseases.”

The 12-week programme is free, combines exercise with nutritional advice and is run by a team of qualified weight management advisors from the council’s Craven Leisure centre.

The scheme is available for people with a BMI of 30 or above, or people with a BMI of 25 or above who are also in a black or minority ethnic group, or have conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or hypertension

Participants must also be 18 or over, and live, work or be registered with a GP in Craven.

Weekly sessions include a weigh in, nutritional support and an exercise component in the comfort and safety of the client’s own home.

Alongside these sessions, clients can access online workouts and peer group support - sharing recipe ideas, walks, hobbies etc. as well as information supporting mental health. From March 29 outdoor exercise classes will be available again and when Craven Leisure is open, clients can use free gym and swim weekly passes.

Participants also get a range of incentives including a Keelham Farm Shop voucher booklet, a free fruit or vegetable box to help with healthy choices, and a month’s free membership at Craven Leisure if their 5% target weight loss is sustained at 24 weeks.

The scheme is funded by North Yorkshire Public Health. Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “Despite the challenges and restrictions associated with Covid-19, North Yorkshire County Council is extremely proud that the North Yorkshire Adult Weight Management Service, funded from the County Council’s Public Health Grant, has continued to support people who need help and specialist advice to improve their health and wellbeing. 

“The North Yorkshire Adult Weight Management Service providers in each district have worked tirelessly to review and adapt the service offered to ensure it is safe by following national government guidance. We’re delighted by how all providers have been able to meet the needs of everyone requiring support with their weight loss journey through these difficult times.”

People can self-refer through the Craven District Council website at or email or call 07935010318 for more information. You can also be referred by your GP.

Case Studies

Anne Chalkley - exceeded 5% target loss


“The advice that our tutor Hannah has given and talked through with us has been really helpful and has made me think about what and when I eat.

“I was reasonably active before the course, but maybe not in the right way to make it effective like the low impact cardio exercises Hannah does. 

“I now try to ensure I exercise more each week in addition to daily walks and Hannah’s sessions.  I have noticed a real difference; my stamina has built up. I’ve also looked at YouTube low impact, cardio exercise classes and followed some to supplement Hannah’s classes and as a form of exercise on a wet day! I wouldn’t have done anything like this prior to this course.

“With the dietary advice, the exercises and the fact these have changed my way of thinking about lifestyle and food, I have successfully lost weight.  With what Hannah has ingrained into us and with a new approach on my part, I hope to lose some more weight or at least maintain what I’ve achieved thus far.

“I would thoroughly recommend the course. I’m basically a shy, introverted, non-group type of person who would normally shy away from a group activity but this group has been great; you can be yourself and not feel like you’re being judged.”

Simon Bailey – weight loss 10.5kg (1.7 stone)


“I have found the “Healthy Lifestyles” weight management programme to be inspirational in my bid to lose weight.

“Rebecca is an exceptional tutor who makes exercise fun. I feel sure that without her encouragement and sound dietary advice I would not have achieved my target weight.

“The virtual online and WhatsApp classes work well and I intend to continue to lose weight and reach my next target.”

Naomi Baker - weight loss 10kg (1.6 stone)

‘Before starting the course I was unhappy with my weight and how I looked. I would eat without thinking about it, whilst watching TV. When feeling down I would reach for chocolate and crisps. I was moderately active, playing badminton once or twice a week and walking to work. I wanted to lose weight to look and feel better about myself.

“In the group sessions I enjoyed meeting people who had similar goals, the exercise and learning about nutrition. A pivotal point in the course was learning about eating awareness. This helped me to properly focus on what I was eating. Another thing that helped was the free gym/swim pass, I used it to go swimming each week. Rebecca, the tutor, was an excellent motivator and I always felt good after class.

“It may have been down to the course and losing the 10kg that made it easier to conceive. I am feeling good about myself and will try not to eat for two."