PEOPLE who want to greet the new year by improving their health and fitness are being urged to join a free weight loss programme.

Craven District Council is expanding its 'healthy lifestyles' weight management programme after being awarded a new more than four year contract, following a successful pilot scheme.

The 12-week programme combines exercise with nutritional advice and is run by a team of qualified instructors at Craven Leisure.

In addition to Craven Leisure, sessions will also be held at Greatwood Community Centre, Skipton; Settle College, and at other venues, to be decided.

Lloyd Hancox, the council's leisure services manager, said they were delighted to be able to continue and also to expand the scheme.

“It’s proved very popular with those who have taken part in the pilot programme and we hope that many more people will sign up. This is a great opportunity to get fit and healthy for 2018 and beyond without paying a penny.”

People can be referred to the scheme by their doctor, or can sign up themselves.

And, there will be incentives for people to succeed, with Keelham Farm Shop, in Skipton, providing fruit and vegetable boxes to those who sign up for the programme, and when they complete the course.

The new scheme will also offer a 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 at Craven Leisure.

And, for those who manage to keep the weight off at 24 weeks, they will receive a month's free full membership at Craven Leisure, with a further three months at a discounted rate. They will also be treated to a free meal at the centre's Revive Café.

Victoria Robertshaw, co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop, said: “We’re very pleased to be supporting this scheme. Nutrition has a very important role to play in health and wellbeing and we hope some top quality fruit and veg will help people get off to a good start on their fitness journeys.”

The sessions will be group-based and will either combine nutrition and exercise, or will be focused on nutrition with an option to visit Craven Leisure to use the gym, pool or to attend one of a selected range of classes.

All will be able to use a selected range of Craven Leisure facilities free of charge while they are on the programme.

The scheme is open to people over the age of 18, with a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 25. It is not available to pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those with an eating disorder, 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, email or call 01756 792805. More information is also available on line at: