A SCHEME to help residents suffering from depression will start at Basingstoke Sports Centre in the New Year.

The Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds programme starts on January 13 from 11am to midday, running for 12 weeks, with the sessions aimed at people experiencing mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress.

For just £3 per session, participants will have a structured course of trainer led sessions and will also receive a voucher for a free swim during each week of the programme.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Basingstoke Sports Trust are running the programme for people who have been referred by their GP or another health professional.

The sessions, which are suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, will focus on physical activity and include information on the benefits that good food and nutrition has on mental wellbeing.

Participants of the scheme could see long-term benefits by positively changing their lifestyle, improving their physical, social and mental wellbeing, experiencing positive impacts that physical activity can have on depression and could see increased self esteem.

Councillor Cathy Osselton, cabinet member for partnerships, said: “Exercise not only makes you feel healthier – it has been proven to actually lift depression. I am very happy that GPs are able to refer patients on to these sessions, and hope that people who need it, take up this opportunity which will provide exercise in a supportive and relaxed environment.”

Spaces are limited and refreshments will be provided after each session. For more information on the scheme, contact Emma Cameron at Basingstoke Sports Trust on 01256 302249.