The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tough impact on many aspects of life, but it’s been especially hard for those experiencing homelessness. Services that existed before the pandemic have been stretched thin, and some have even had to stop their support.
Sinéad Ryan, a woman from Santry who has over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry and a degree in Sport and Physical Education, runs Little Fitness. Little Fitness was started by Sinéad because of a chance encounter with a pair of brothers who were living in temporary housing and joined one of her fitness classes. She saw the need for a program that brings primary-age children from homeless families together to learn about their bodies, health, and nutrition, and have fun with their peers.
While the children are participating in the program, their parents and guardians can take a break, have a cup of tea, and chat with other adults, knowing their children are being well-cared for.
Sinéad believes it’s important for the parents to be involved and supportive of the program, and she makes it a priority to engage with them and keep them informed of their children’s progress.
“They want the same opportunities for their children that any other child outside of homelessness is experiencing,” she says. “It’s important for me to be engaging with the parents and having the community meetings to let them know that this is a start of a journey for them.”