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Founder of social enterprise which has teamed with SETU Carlow is among the UN’s Healthy Aging 50 World Leaders

Dr Noel McCaffrey set up ExWell Medical in 2019 to offer a community-based clinical exercise service to people with chronic illnesses

The founder of a social enterprise which has teamed with the South East Technological University is among those to be honoured by the United Nations.

Dr Noel McCaffrey has been named among the UN’s Healthy Ageing 50 World Leaders which celebrates those who are working to transform the world to be a better place in which to grow older.

He set up ExWell Medical in 2019, offering a community-based clinical exercise service to people with chronic illnesses in Ireland.

It has partnered SETU at its Carlow campus in a project of Physical Activity for people with Chronic Conditions (PACC) which is funded by the 2020 Dormant Accounts Innovation Fund via Sport Ireland and operated under the stewardship of Carlow, Waterford and Westmeath Local Sports Partnerships.

The programme locally is steadily growing and is delivered by Liam Hughes, a clinical exercise specialist and supported by Dr Clare Lodge from the Dept of Science and Health with classes at 2pm on Tuesdays and 11am on Thursdays.

Anne Twomey, a regular participant at SETU Carlow says “ExWell gave me the confidence to exercise at a pace and a place that I was comfortable with and with the knowledge that there were trainers there to help and motivate me at every step without being pushed or judgemental. The friendly and encouraging atmosphere along with the other participants helped each of us there to set realistic goals for ourselves. Being able to get back to exercise in a fun, safe and non-intimidating environment made it something I could look forward to instead of something that I feared. I highly recommend ExWell to anyone who needs a little help to get started and a place to feel safe, secure and not judged”.

Dr McCaffrey is delighted with the award and said; “This is a very big honour. It is a major validation of the work we do and a huge confidence boost for me, for the entire ExWell team, for our delivery partners in Carlow and for our participants who are always delighted when ExWell’s work gets acknowledged. We have had a roller coaster journey since 2019, including the chaos of the pandemic, and there are so many people to thank for helping us along the way. I am particularly delighted to acknowledge the great support ExWell has received from the HSE and we are hopeful that the funded models we are developing with the HSE in Tallaght and the midlands can be brought elsewhere in the near future.”