Oxfordshire outdoor swimmers join forces to tackle homelessness

Their numbers have soared during the pandemic and now outdoor swimmers will be joining forces for a bracing dip in Oxfordshire to raise vital funds for homelessness charity Crisis.

Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa is hosting a Crisis Icebreaker challenge, part of the charity’s yearly cold-water fundraiser. 

Postponed in in January due to lockdown, the event has been rescheduled for Sunday May 9th at the venue’s 200m purpose-built swimming lake. While ice is now unlikely, the water is still expected to be refreshingly chilly! 

Throughout the year, Crisis’s Skylight centres help people end their homelessness through employment, well-being and housing support. Since July, Crisis Skylight Oxford has secured stable housing for 155 people and prevented the homelessness of 78 people. 

Tim Jones from Banbury will be swimming with his father Chris and partner Zsófi, who he met through their shared passion for outdoor swimming. 

“Swimming outdoors gives you something extra. You can be surrounded by nature, and all those sights and sounds of the river, sea or lake. It’s worth putting up with a few minutes or seriously cold water to help people who’d otherwise be stuck out in the cold, day and night.”

Emma Payne is a board member at Bicester Hotel Gold and Spa and has taken part in Crisis Icebreaker challenges in London in previous years. She is proud to be hosting this event in Oxfordshire.

“The Icebreaker swim is a fantastic name because homelessness is something we should all talk more about. How quickly someone’s situation can change, this year especially. Finding shelter is one thing but we feel Crisis works with people to get a home.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are so grateful to all the swimmers taking part in this Icebreaker challenge, a little later than planned. 

“While the snow has melted away, their efforts will help fund our year-round work to end homelessness. They are also sending a message to anyone sleeping rough, living in cars or stuck in temporary accommodation that they are not forgotten.”


Notes to Editor

1. The Crisis Icebreaker Challenge at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa is taking place on Sunday May 9th  2021 between 10am- 3pm. Email Lee.wood@bicesterhgs.com to book a slot. 

2. The £7 swim fee will be donated to Crisis or waived for anyone raising their own funds for Crisis.  

2. Participants must be competent swimmers and confident in their ability to be able to swim 200m. 

3. For more information about open water swimming, visit the Crisis Icebreaker website.