A 28-strong team of outdoor swimmers have braved ice, snow and rain to complete a month of daily dips and raise vital funds to tackle homelessness.
Spread out across West Yorkshire, the Pennines, the Lake District, East Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales, The January Daily Dip group has been taking part in Crisis’s winter Icebreaker challenge.
Shunning wetsuits in favour of standard swimwear, and now in their fourth year, the dippers have braved frozen tarns, icy waterfalls and freezing lakes to raise over £45,000 – over four times their 2021 target.
Sonya Moorhead from Todmorden in West Yorkshire formed the group three years ago with a friend and has seen their numbers swell this year, with lockdown spurring interest in wild swimming.
“We’ve got GPs, social workers, painter decorators, people running struggling companies. The ‘extra’ they’ve put is unreal: swimming in the dark, swimming on their own, finding a random ditch next to the house because it’s 8 o’clock at night and they haven’t done it yet. And there’s the bin dippers who literally couldn’t get anywhere, so just got into their wheelie bins filled with ice!”
Sonya is passionate about ending homelessness and started the January Daily Dip to do something constructive to help.
“Part of the driving force for me was seeing homelessness in a very visible way as rough sleeping but also having personal connections with people who have experienced hidden homelessness and struggled for many years”.
Crisis provides year-round support to people experiencing all forms of homelessness, whether rough sleeping, sofa surfing or living in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are so grateful to the January Daily Dip team and all our Icebreaker fundraisers for their extraordinary efforts in the harshest of winters. The money they have raised will help prevent and end homelessness across the country, while their passion will show people going through the hardest times that they are not forgotten.”