Kirsten is just what the doctor ordered

Kirsten Civil with cheque from Round Tablers Colin Anderson, second left, and Michael Woodhouse, with Vanda Hurn, left, and Jan Hale of the Wensleydale sport and leisure centre

By Betsy Everett

The skills of sports coach Kirsten Civil of Askrigg are now available on prescription – thanks in part to the Wensleydale Round Table.

Kirsten and colleagues at the Wensleydale Sport and Leisure Centre received a cheque for £250 from Colin Anderson, treasurer, and Michael Woodhouse, secretary, towards the project to develop the village gym as a centre for GP referrals.

The exercise-on-prescription programme is a national initiative aimed at improving people’s health and quality of life through physical fitness.

“You can now get a prescription from your doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath, dietician, or any health professional for an exercise programme to address your health issues,” says Kirsten, who recently qualified for the GP referral scheme.

“We assess the person’s individual needs and work out a suitable fitness programme. It’s a great scheme. We all know the importance of exercise to our health but we don’t always put it into practice.”

More money from grants and fundraising is needed to put the Askrigg gym on a sustainable footing and establish it as a centre to which people will be referred by local GPs.  Kirsten, already a qualified sports coach, and the Yorebridge Sports Development Association are working closely with the Central Dales Practice to increase awareness of the local facilities.

At present the nearest gym is in Richmond which, says Kirsten, is a long way to travel from upper Wensleydale.

“In a deeply rural area like this, distance and travel costs are a big issue, and for people who wouldn’t normally enjoy exercise these things can be a real stumbling block,” said Kirsten.

There is a reduced gym membership rate for prescription referrals of £18 a month for the first three months. Full details are available from Jan Hale at the centre on 01969 650060 or 07968606571 or email

The next fundraising event for the sport and leisure centre is a 60s and 70s night at the King’s Arms, Askrigg, on Friday, May 5.

Wensleydale Round Table’s donation reflects their commitment to national and local charities. As well as Yorebridge Sports Development this year they have also helped Leyburn Girl Guides with a similar donation and given £1,600 to Cancer Research UK and £1,500 to Yorkshire Air Ambulance. They welcome new members, aged 18-45, who can join at