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Craven District Council

Healthy Lifestyles is helping Craven residents get fit and active

Scores of Craven residents have lost weight and embraced healthy living thanks to the free Healthy Lifestyles programme run by Craven District Council. 

A total of 85 people have now completed the programme and 55 of those have achieved their target weight loss - five per cent of their body weight.

The 12-week programme combines exercise with nutritional advice and is run by a team of qualified instructors at Craven Leisure, with sessions available at Craven Leisure, Gargrave Village Hall, Dyneley Surgery, Giggleswick School, Skipton Town Hall and Broughton Road Community Centre.  

Nick Swain, 61, from Cononley, a retired IT manager, has successfully completed the course, followed by a 12-week maintenance programme. He has lost over a stone in weight and has changed his exercise and eating habits.

“I’d heard about it from a friend and then I saw it featured in the Craven Herald,” said Nick.

“I knew I was overweight – I’m not inactive but I wanted something that was focused and that would help me lose weight and get me towards a healthier lifestyle generally.”

He started going to sessions on Wednesday afternoon at Craven Leisure, along with an exercise class on Mondays, and then tried out spin classes too. 

“There are a number of classes you can attend for free when you’re doing the course,” said Nick. “I thought, I’ve never done spinning before, but cycling is a really good way of keeping fit so I’ve been going to spin classes.

“I’ve got a couple of cocker spaniels that I walk once or twice a day and I play five-a-side football so I’m not inactive but I wasn’t losing the weight. I needed something that had a focus or a target. I’ve never been interested in diet groups. The fact that this had an exercise programme as part of it was a big motivation.

“I can’t speak highly enough of it. The staff have been really encouraging and welcoming. If you have the opportunity to do it, then take it.”

Fifteen people have now reached the six-month stage and all of them have maintained their five per cent target and lost more.

Stephanie Harrison, Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator at Craven District Council, said: “We’re really proud of all our clients who have done so well throughout this programme.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to get fit and healthy and develop great habits that will hopefully last for the rest of their lives. Losing as little as five per cent of your body weight can have hugely positive effects on the mind and body; it can ease pressure on joints, help prevent Type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, ease high blood pressure, reduce risk of cancers, and improve sleep and mood.”

There are currently places available on courses at Dyneley Barn on Monday and Tuesday evenings and at Gargrave Village Hall on Monday mornings. Future classes are being planned for Greatwood Community Centre and north Craven.

GPs can refer patients to the scheme, or residents can sign themselves up. The Healthy Lifestyles course involves 12 weekly sessions of nutritional advice and exercise, and free access to a range of facilities at Craven Leisure.

This is followed by 12-week maintenance programme for those who have achieved their five per cent weight loss target, which will include ongoing nutritional advice and a further 12 weeks of free access to a range of exercise facilities.

Those who continue to maintain their five per cent weight loss target at 24 weeks will receive a month’s free full membership at Craven Leisure with a further three months at a discounted rate.

The scheme is open to people over the age of 18, with a BMI equal to or greater than 25. Patients are not eligible for the programme if they are pregnant, or breastfeeding, have an eating disorder, have an underlying medical cause for obesity, have a significant unmanaged co-morbidity or complex needs, or have had bariatric surgery in the last two years.

To find out more about the scheme, please email or call 01756 792805. More information is also available at