Sarah Gillespie is a woman on a mission – and Ireland is taking note.
As the CEO and founder of RINKA – one of Ireland’s leading children’s fitness providers – Sarah is helping children get active, simply for the fun of it.
The Donegal Town woman has featured on Ireland AM and with Pat Kenny on Newstalk FM in the last week as she brings her message across the county.
The message is that fitness and fun can go hand in hand without the pressure of competitions.
Sarah has recently opened RINKA’s new training facility in Athlone.
After four years in Donegal Town, she says the move is an exciting one for the business: “Due to demand and to facilitate the growth of RINKA, we’ve made the decision to move our central training hub to Athlone, with our head office remaining in Donegal Town.
Sarah added: “We’re over the moon with how RINKA has grown over such a short period of time and while we’re sad to leave our first training home in Donegal Town, the move to Monksland, Athlone makes sense logistically and will allow us to grow even more, providing further employment to rural areas as well as helping us reach more children across Ireland, sharing our ethos with them.”
Before starting up RINKA, Sarah was a former champion Irish dancer, however a serious road traffic collision in Germany forced her to re-evaluate her career path which led to the birth of RINKA.
Speaking about the ethos of the business, Sarah said: “The aim of RINKA is to nurture children at their own pace without the pressure of competitions; our goals are fitness and fun, regardless of age or ability. RINKA classes also re-awaken the energy and natural creativity that have been lost in today’s youth.
“A study published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal in November found that seven in ten older Irish children do not get enough exercise. Research by University College Cork also concluded that skills which were generally mastered by six-year-olds – such as jumping, throwing, catching or hitting any type of sports ball – are now out of reach for many children by the time they reach 12 or 13.
“We’re seeing this all the time in our classes and that’s why RINKA is built around the core philosophy of getting children active again through high-energy games, athletic and gymnastic skills, dance, drama and fitness.”
RINKA classes are all-inclusive, age appropriate and strive to offer alternatives to mainstream sports, ensuring that all children – not just those who love sport already – are supported in reaching their physical activity requirements.
RINKA currently employs instructors in Donegal, Sligo, Meath, Cavan, Westmeath, Longford, Leitrim, Offaly, Mayo, Galway and Roscommon and opened new classes in Clare and Limerick in January 2020.
For more information on classes near you or to become a RINKA instructor, visit www.rinka.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org.