HFWG Case Studies

Case study:
Laurie Keys Chemmart Pharmacy

We caught up with Felicity from Laurie Keys Chemmart Pharmacy to talk about her experience running a Heart Foundation Walking Group.

Why did you start a Heart Foundation Walking Group?

I started a HFWG at our pharmacy as I felt it would be a really great way to help build our local community. There are a lot of terrific people who come to our pharmacy. Even though they live within several blocks from each other, they are totally  unaware of each other’s existence. I just thought a walking group would be a great way to connect these people while improving their health. Then, once the group was up and running, it would provide a local activity for anyone to join.

It required very little effort to get it started. We just spoke to people in-store and basically asked them if they would support our initiative.

What was involved in setting up & maintaining the group?

The walking group participants are all customers of our pharmacy. It required very little effort to get it started. We just spoke to people in-store and basically asked them if they would support our initiative.

There is a very short questionnaire that must be completed by new walkers which included determining their reasons for joining the group. In nearly all cases, the fact that the group was a Heart Foundation Walking Group was one of the major selling points. We also let our local doctors know too and put up posters in their surgeries.

Walking group members posing outside the pharmacy

Laurie Keys Chemmart Pharmacy's Heart Foundation Walking Group

What has interest been like in your walking group?

We have a core group of regular walkers. Others come and go depending on their health and other commitments. Everyone knows that it is fine to come when they can. We have focussed on seniors, so our walk is reasonably short and slow-paced. I am now finding that amongst these seniors there are some who are happy to have a slow amble and a chat, while others really want a ‘work-out’. Pleasing everyone with respect to pace and distance is a challenge, but we have found some suitable solutions.

What do you talk about during the walks?

Everything! It’s been really wonderful to get to know these people at an even deeper level. Health issues obviously come up and we sort out what we can when we return to the pharmacy.

In your opinion, how has this walking group benefited your community and your business?

It’s been fabulous. Word has spread about the group, so different people float in and out when they can. It’s been a great way to engage people who are new to the area. As we are visible to all, all the local businesses are aware of the group. The local council and a few other organisations also know about us. We are listed on the council’s website. I think because the group’s focus is community engagement and encouraging a healthier lifestyle, we receive only positive feedback from participants and the wider community.

...because the group’s focus is community engagement and encouraging a healthier lifestyle, we receive only positive feedback from participants and the wider community.

The walking group has encouraged increased physical activity in many of the participants. The social aspect is also very important, if not one of the main reasons for people continuing to come. We have a gentleman who joins us in his gopher. I know it defeats the purpose of increasing his exercise, but one, he’s over ninety, two, he’s a great conversationalist and therefore a great member of the group and most importantly, three, it gives him some purpose and, in his words, 'something to look forward to each week'.

What has contributed to the group’s success?

I think flexibility, people knowing that they can come and go as it suits them. Even if they haven’t been for a while, they are always welcome to come when they can.

Were there any challenges?

The only challenges we faced were meeting the needs of all our walkers.

What advice would you offer about establishing a walking group in your community?

Go for it! Have some fun. It’s the best marketing activity you could possibly do. 


Case study:
Bell Park Pharmacy Walking Group

Walk organisers Kathy and James from Bell Park Pharmacy share their experience running a Heart Foundation Walking Group.

Why did you start a Heart Foundation Walking Group?

Our pharmacy had recently introduced the Tony Ferguson Weight Loss Program so we thought a walking group would fit in well and provide a healthy and social activity for our customers. 

What was involved in setting up & maintaining the group?

A phone call to register our pharmacy was all that was required.

We decided to join the Heart Foundation Walking Group rather then set up our own so we could leverage off the resources of the Heart Foundation. A phone call to register our pharmacy was all that was required. Then we were able to use their brochures and forms to hand out to customers to gather interest. We decided to go on the walk 9am on a Tuesday morning to fit in with our staff roster.

To maintain the group we encouraged customers to tell their other friends and we alter the routes to provide variety.

two people walking, wearing HFWG outfits

What has interest been like in your walking group?

There's a regular core of 3-4 that go every week and then others join when they can make it.

What do you talk about during the walks?

There's a lot of chatter during the walks from the weather, activities over the weekend and what's planned during the week, families, holidays, the houses and gardens we pass, what we got up to during our younger years.

In your opinion, how has this walking group benefited your community and your business?

It promotes our pharmacy showing that we care for our customers and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. It shows we are happy about giving it a go. 

Making it fun and enjoyable for the walkers is essential to get them to continue.

What has contributed to the group’s success?

Word of mouth has been the best contribution to getting participants.

Were there any challenges?

Changes to the route can be a challenge to ensure we come back in time. 

What advice would you offer about establishing a walking group in your community?

We found it was important to establish a routine - to have a regular starting time. 

We also make sure we have a positive outlook and praise the group for a good effort.  Making it fun and enjoyable for the walkers is essential to get them to continue.

It's also helpful to ask for feedback from the group to see where we can improve.

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Page last updated 04 March 2017