Winter Dip

Take a Winter Dip over the 12 days of Christmas

WaterAid/ Coral Evans

Event information

Take a Winter Dip over the 12 days of Christmas and bring joy to the 1 in 10 people who still don’t have clean water close to home.

Every winter, people all over the UK embrace the thrill of cold water swimming – and this festive season, we’re asking you to gather your friends and family and head out for an exhilarating Winter Dip.

Choose your favourite day from 25 December to 5 January and make it super special: pop on a Santa hat or some reindeer antlers, or even go full fancy dress! Or if you're a little hardier, challenge yourself to a dip on each of the 12 days of Christmas.

However you take part, make it a dip to remember with fun, friends, and, of course, the knowledge that you're helping to reach the 1 in 10 people around the world who still don’t have clean water close to home.

How it works

Cold water safety

  • Check the weather, tides and currents before going for a dip – even if it's your chosen day and you really want to get in the water, make sure it’s safe to do so before you head on in.
  • Choose a spot with a lifeguard if you can, or find your nearest organised festive dip – they'll be happening up and down the country.
  • Make sure you acclimatise to cooler water temperatures: cold water shock can be deadly, so enter the water slowly and allow time for your body to get used to the cold. Never jump or dive straight in.
  • Have the right equipment. If you're swimming rather than ‘dipping’, consider wearing a wetsuit and a brightly coloured swim cap or woolly hat to keep your head warm and your visibility high.
  • Bring lots of dry layers and warm drinks to warm up safely after your dip, to avoid afterdrop or hypothermia.
  • It is never safe to walk on or swim in bodies of water that have frozen over. Ensure you seek a safe - and preferably managed - venue to dip in.
  • If you don’t feel safe, or you’ve changed your mind, don’t dip. It’s important you feel confident and safe before dipping – your safety comes first.

The value of clean water

Valéria and her daughter Pierpina know just how important clean water is.

Mother Valeria smiles as she holds her young daughter outside Mecanhelas health centre, Niassa, Mozambique.
Valéria with her young daughter, Pierpina, outside Mecanhelas health centre.
WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne

In their district of Mecanhelas, northern Mozambique, two in three people used to live without clean water. And nine in ten people had no access to a toilet, either.

To change this, we worked directly with communities, local government, schools and health centres to build lasting, reliable services. Now, clean water, toilets and hygiene are a normal part of daily life across the district.

Valéria experienced the simple, vital changes they bring when she gave birth to Pierpina at the local clinic: “It was wonderful, I was very well looked after. After delivery I used [hot water] to wash myself.”

For her, its value is clear. “Water saves lives”, she says. “There is no life without water.”

By raising funds through a Winter Dip, you'll help us reach even more people like Valéria and Pierpina with life-changing clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. Three things that sound normal – and should be.

Your questions answered

Enjoy a gentle paddle or plunge right in at your local safe open water location, such as the sea, a lake or an open water lido – fancy dress, friends and festivities are all encouraged!

Fundraise as part of your Winter Dip challenge and help bring joy to the 1 in 10 people who still don’t have clean water close to home.

Check out our safety advice to ensure you’re taking on your Winter Dip safely.

The Winter Dip will officially run from 25 December to the 5 January, in line with the 12 days of Christmas.

We encourage you to take on your challenge over this period, but if you'd rather, you’re welcome to take your Winter Dip any time over the festive period – but please note that the communications you receive from us will assume you’re taking part over the 12 days of Christmas.

If you’d like to take part in the Winter Dip without setting up a Facebook Fundraiser, you can fundraise via JustGiving instead. Our main communications during the challenge will be via our Winter Dip Facebook group, but you can also contact us by emailing [email protected] if you have any questions, or would like any advice.

You can complete your Winter Dip(s) at any safe open water location. This could be in the sea, a lake or reservoir, or an outdoor lido.

For your safety, we recommend using a site with lifeguards, or at an organised Christmas/New Year’s dip location. Please also make sure you've read our safety advice before taking part.

Every participant who raises at least £12 will receive a Winter Dip swimming cap. This will automatically be sent to you at the address provided upon registering once you reach £12. 

Due to office closures over the festive period, if you'd like to receive your cap before Christmas or the New Year you’ll need to raise a minimum of £12 on your Facebook or JustGiving fundraising page before 20 December 2022.

Check out our fundraising ideas to get started, and read stories from our work around the world to learn more about the difference your Winter Dip can make.

Don't be afraid to go all out and let friends and family know all about your challenge, and just how great an impact their support will have!

If you need any tips or support to help with your fundraising, we'll be on hand in the Facebook group.