Cold water swim will fundraise for families in need this Christmas

Nicola Lonsdale swim

A West Leeds woman is joining her colleagues in a cold water ‘Santa Swim’ to help raise money to support families in need this Christmas.

Nicola Lonsdale works for Leeds Children’s Services in Hough Lane, Bramley, and each year her department, Leeds Youth Justice, gets together its staff and young people to put on a Christmas meal for their families and elderly residents.

Staff give their Secret Santa money to fund the meal.

But the fundraisers are wanting to go one step further this year – and a crowdfunding appeal has already raised more than £1,150.

Nicola said:

“This year, with the added pressures of the pandemic and many families losing their jobs/ benefit changes and sinking deeper into poverty, we are concerned how many children and young people this will leave worried and concerned at Christmas with little funds or resources. Therefore we want to stretch our efforts a little further.

“My colleague, Cathy Williams and I started outdoor swimming in lockdown round one, and found it really helpful for our mental health.

“We thought if we could encourage other friends who also swim then we could do a November swim in our Santa hats. As the days move towards December, the temperature drops. We are hoping to do the last weekend in November. We will swim in our costumes (no wet suits!) and wear a Santa hat.”

Other swimmer fundraisers include: Gem Hart, Thomas Pilkington, Mal Campbell and Ashlea Cormack. Nicola added:

“We will make up hampers for Christmas or wellbeing packages, using as many local business and community resources as we possibly can. Any extra will be given to social care or local schools.”

The crowdfunding appeal can be found here.


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