Public Health England launched the Better Health campaign this week to capture the imagination of the nation and help to kick start our health – to eat better and get active.

Better Health will support people to lose weight, and, later, will provide advice and support for quitting smoking, drinking less and looking after your mental health.

In North Yorkshire, our Adult Weight Management Service is a free service offering eligible people up to 24 weeks of support to lose weight and improve their health and lifestyle.

People are supported to achieve 5 per cent weight loss at 12-weeks and sustain 5 per cent weight loss at 24-weeks. The providers of the service offer clients weekly weigh-ins, structured nutritional education and advice, and a free facilitated physical activity offer.

Even during lockdown, the Adult Weight Management Service continued to help people, and we’ve heard from two people who benefited.

The service had to suspend face-to-face activities and assessments because of the pandemic, so, instead has offered a remote service. Advisors kept in touch with clients through a weekly wellbeing call. Clients accessed online exercise classes and were sent recipes and links to support mental wellbeing.

Jo Hardiman, from Skipton, is full of praise for the programme and advisors Hannah Storey and Mark Hampton. In Craven, the service is called Healthy Lifestyles Weight Management Programme. It is commissioned by the County Council and delivered by Craven District Council.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with the way the programme has worked for me,” said Jo. “I’ve tried to lose weight several times, but this is the only thing that’s worked for me. I’ve really enjoyed becoming much more active.

“Hannah has been brilliant – she’s so encouraging and I love the circuits that she showed us, which I’m now doing daily. She’s also been sending new ideas on a regular basis on our WhatsApp group, so we all still feel very supported.

“Whilst it was obviously preferable to be able to have our group meetings together, I’ve been able to continue the programme and feel I’m still making good progress. Altogether, I still feel very supported and I’m really appreciative of still having the support available in such strange times.”

Hannah said: “It’s been a pleasure having Jo on the course, she has been motivated right from the start. During the group sessions, Jo was an encouraging member of the group, she engaged and shared ideas and always enjoyed the exercise. As our sessions moved to a remote service, Jo continued to be really positive, hitting her initial target at 12 weeks and continuing to lose weight through the maintenance stage.”

Charlotte Robson, also from Skipton, said: “It has helped me in so many ways. I'm thinking more about what I eat, looking at food labels and really trying to balance my food better. It's changed the way I think about food for my children, too. The weight loss is one thing but the re-education and awareness of what I'm eating has been something I didn’t expect.

“I really like my group and am in touch with them through Facebook to see how they are doing. The group help motivates me, too.”

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, said: “The service has been really responsive in supporting people wherever possible. Credit goes to the advisors, and particularly to the people who have stuck with the programme during a difficult time and are now enjoying the benefits.”