Homelessness charity Crisis wants swimmers to get cold

The homelessness charity Crisis says more than 2,600 were sleeping rough in London’s streets this summer, and that number is rising. Many of these people will still be sleeping outside through the winter. And the problem isn’t just confined to the capital.

Each winter, Crisis hold a series of icy plunge swims to raise funds and awareness for those sleeping rough. You get cold for a few minutes to help support people who are out in the cold all the time.

There are three events taking place at lidos in London and a fourth in Pontypridd, Wales. Funds raised will go towards the charity’s year-round services and to Crisis at Christmas – a special annual service which runs from 22 to 29 December 2017. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, guests at Crisis at Christmas will receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits in centres across London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Edinburgh.

Events are as follows:

Hampstead Heath, Parliament Hill Lido, Saturday 25 November, 11am – Swim a width solo or take part in a relay race with three friends.

Brockwell Lido, Saturday 9 December, 11am – hundreds of fancy dress-clad swimmers can take part in a solo splash or a team relay at this beautiful Art Deco lido.

Tooting Bec Lido, Saturday 20 January, 11am – Swim a width solo or take part in a relay race with three friends.

The National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty, Ynysangarad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, 9 December 2017 – Take a chilling plunge in this classic lido.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, says: “No one should face homelessness any time of year, but winter can be the hardest time as temperatures drop and people face sleeping alone on the streets. As our charity turns 50, we will work harder than ever to make homelessness a thing of the past. By taking part in the Crisis Midwinter Swim, swimmers can help us bring people who are experiencing homelessness in from the cold and support Crisis’ year-round services, which help people leave homelessness behind for good.” 

All participants will receive a Crisis swimming cap for the occasion and be able to enjoy a warming drink after their icy dip.

To register for your place, visit:

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.