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RTE Article April 26th

A fitness instructor from Dublin has spoken of the challenges and rewards of running classes for children in emergency accommodation.

Santry woman Sinéad Ryan had worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years before founding Little Fitness in 2020.

“A lot of the time when we talk about homelessness, people think of an adult man or woman. But these are children and they’re there and feeling no one cares about them. We need to be doing more.”

The idea for Ms Ryan’s social enterprise came after she met two young boys who were living in emergency accommodation.

“They were saying they couldn’t jump, they couldn’t run, they were really emotional. It got me thinking that there were kids in these services not accessing physical activity programmes or being part of groups. There are kids living there who don’t go outside their rooms or outside the service at all.”

Last year, Ms Ryan worked with 826 children who are homeless or living in marginalised communities.

The latest homeless figures were announced today and show there were 13,866 people in emergency accommodation in March, of whom 4,147 were children and 9,719 were adults.

This is an increase of 25 on February’s figure, when there were 13,841 people homeless.

There were 23 less children in emergency accommodation in March, compared to February, while the number of adults rose by 48.