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The Buzz > Glasgow Southside Walking Group makes huge strides together

Glasgow Southside Walking Group makes huge strides together

Volunteer Doalty leads a group of walkers in a Glasgow park.

As a long-time volunteer with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Doalty Sweeney knows how vital the support groups are to service users. So, on the first outing of the newly formed Glasgow Southside Walking Group, Doalty was concerned when one participant had to give up within a few hundred yards of the walk starting. 

He need not have worried. Just a few short weeks on, the participant is not only completing every walk – sometimes up to 90 minutes with the rest of the group – but also encouraging them up a hill, too!

Doalty, 69, of Glasgow, says: “Her experience shows the spirit and determination in the group. Everyone is so keen to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the conversation and the banter.

“We already see how important the group has become to everyone.

“I give the credit to Elaine Fisher, who is the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland co-ordinator. She is tremendous and her energy and commitment to the job drives us all on."

There’s something special about this group

“On that first day, Elaine hung back and did a short one-to-one walk with the lady who was struggling. That meant so much to her that she was determined to come back and complete the walk with everyone.

“Now she’s pulling the group up a hill that isn’t even on our route!”

Paths for All brings our walking groups together

The Glasgow Southside Walking Group is one of a number of groups organised by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland across the country that gives those living with chest, heart and stroke conditions a safe arena in which to walk with support.

Doalty and other volunteers have gone through training with Paths for All, the charity that aims to improve health and wellbeing through daily walking.

Their first walk was in Glasgow’s Pollok Park, but they have since relocated to Rouken Glen Park.

Doalty has been volunteering with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland for over 14 years.

For retired retail manager Doalty, this is the latest step in his long volunteering career with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. He first offered his time 14 years ago and has been involved in a variety of roles, including working on communication with those struggling to speak after stroke.

Doalty says: “I’m a keen walker anyway, but there’s something special about this group. On our first outing, we had 18 people, all keen to get out in the fresh air and have some company.

“The banter is great. I can see how much people are loving being out and how their faces light up when they see the others arriving.

“It’s such a simple thing to do but so positive and vital for those who struggle physically.”

To find out more about peer support groups and walking groups available in your area, get in touch with our Advice Line nurses on 0808 801 0899.

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