Brockwell Lido at the weekend hosted the first of a series of icy dips to raise funds for the homeless charity Crisis.
Swimmers, who included broadcaster Ayo Akinwolere, a Crisis ambassador, completed one width by themselves or teamed up in groups of four for a relay in water at just 6º.
Keen cold water swimmers unable to make these events can get involved with the DIY Icebreaker Challenge until 28 February and set their own cold-water challenge to raise money for Crisis.
Crisis is preparing to open its centres over the festive period where people experiencing the worst forms of homelessness – sleeping on the street, sofa surfing with strangers, or being stuck in crowded B&Bs and hostels – will be provided with food and essentials and have access to services including health and wellbeing programmes and advice on housing and employment. This year is the 50th anniversary of Crisis at Christmas.
Ayo said: “The water was freezing, but it’s nothing compared to what people face sleeping on the streets over winter.
“I loved being part of the Icebreaker Challenge and joining others taking the plunge in support of Crisis.”
Micky Barber, who also took part in the Icebreaker, said: “How exhilarating! It was just brilliant. The Icebreaker was what got me to join Brockwell Lido and start cold water swimming.
“I always buy Christmas dinners for people through the Crisis appeals but I heard about the Icebreaker and it seemed like a great way to do something outside of my comfort zone.
“I feel like I’ve really achieved something for a cause I totally believe in.”
Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said: “The Icebreaker Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for people to take on a challenge, while raising vital funds to help Crisis support people experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness is devastating for a person’s mental and physical health and winter can be the most dangerous time of the year. 2021 has continued to be difficult for us all as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, but it’s highlighted how vital a safe and secure home is.
“By joining in with the Icebreaker Challenge you can help Crisis support people experiencing homelessness to leave it behind for good.”
To sign-up for an event or register your own Icebreaker Challenge, visit the Crisis website.