6 years of the January Daily Dip
The January Daily Dip is now in its 6th year, its been quite a journey!
December 2018 me and me mate Sonya were feeling distressed and helpless about the horrific plight of the Syrian refugees. Sonya came up with the idea of dipping every day in January to raise cash. We were already swimming at least three times a week during winter mainly because it helped so much with menopause symptoms and general mental heath so although it felt like a big challenge it felt doable. At the time hardly anyone was outdoor swimming in winter (hard to believe now)
We set a target for £500 quid and smashed that in the first few days. We ended up raising £7000 for Unicef. Getting in cold water wasn’t at all popular at the time and people found it really shocking and also very entertaining. It was tough mentally and physically, finding the time to fit around work whilst also raising kids but we were so amazed and delighted by the support and we had managed to raise so much money we decided we had to do it again the following year.
January 2019 come around - it was just me, Sonya and a small group of women in Machynlleth called the Mac dippers. This time we decided to fundraise for Crisis. Homelessness is such a massive issue and is getting worse in this country. I used to live in Manchester and it’s so heart wrenching to go back in and see so many homeless people on the streets. Dipping outdoors seemed like a good way to bring awareness to the issue - getting freezing in the water and then going back home to our warm houses seemed to highlight the plight of people who actually live on the streets in freezing conditions.
By 2020 the January Daily Dip had legs - big ones. We decided to up our game and get press on board. There was six of us in West Yorkshire and another group in Wales. We wore red cosies to match the Crisis logo. There were more of us and because of that we raised even more money - around 20K. It was after this that I set up my swim company Swim Feral. Through doing the January Daily Dip I realised it was more the getting changed that was the challenge rather than the getting in ice cold water. I needed a bag I could stand in and get changed in. I designed one and had been testing out designs I made myself every winter. Swim Feral was finally launched in 2020 right after the lockdown announcement. Swim Feral wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the January Daily Dip!
By 2021 January Daily Dip was a thing, it was expected, people looked forward to seeing photos and videos of all those crazy swimmers doing daft stuff in their red costumes. The outdoor swimming community was growing but it was still pretty small. I was connected to various groups and people on instagram so asked them if they wanted to join. They did. There ended up being over 40 of us all over the country. Lockdown was in full force so we could only swim alone or in pairs but the sense of community and camaraderie was incredible, it got us and our supporters through lockdown. We got loads of press and TV coverage and raised approx £50k.
2022 again saw over 40 people joining in from all over the country, this was my 5th January Daily Dip and I was flagging somewhat but the team was amazing. It's got a life of its own now and the team will take it forward, new people will join. The January Daily Dip is now an established annual event brightening up what is usually the most miserable month of the year. I’m taking a bit of a backseat from now on, I’ll definitely join in and support it through Swim Feral but I won’t be swimming everyday this year - 5 years is enough. I'm really proud of what we have set up. These amounts of money will make a difference. I hope it continues for years to come.
Please consider a donation, your money will make a difference: www.justgiving.com/january-daily-dip-2023
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