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Safety Tips for Little Bluetits!

Bluetitting is great fun (we actually think it’s up there with the most fun things out there!) and so it’s only natural that we want to share it with the children in our lives. It’s important that they are safe and seen, and so as well as our usual safety resources, we got in touch with Professor Mike Tipton to ask him about children and cold water.

Professor Tipton said that we must exercise great caution when it comes to our fledgling Bluetits and cold water. An average child will cool a lot more quickly than an average adult, and this is because of a greater surface area to body mass ratio. Also, because there’s just less of them, they contain less body heat in the first place! He said that children are also more likely to not perceive that they’re getting cold.

Considering other things like strong currents, we need to be extra observant when dipping, swimming, or playing in shallows with fledgling Bluetits, especially if they are not wearing a wetsuit. Look out for blue lips and shivering, and make sure there are plenty of layers and warm drinks on hand to warm them up post-dip!

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Bluetit Swim Coaches – Everything You Need To Know

Since The Bluetits became a social enterprise back in September 2020, we have been putting a portion of our income into a pot labeled The Bluetit Bursary. We knew that we would put it towards a project in line with The Bluetit mission to create a confident, capable community through cold water swimming in the future. We just weren’t sure what it would be!

Over the next year or so, The Bluetits grew at a rate none of us had even imagined. As a tiny team of 4 part-timers, we worked hard, swam often, and talked a lot over our tea on the shore about that mission, and what our little but growing pot of money could do to help our community the most.

Meanwhile, we were hearing from Bluetits that they wanted to increase their confidence in the water, and that they weren’t sure where to turn. So much of the coaching for adult swimmers is geared towards triathletes or those wanting to swim great distances. Bluetits were saying they just wanted to duck under a wave without panicking, or swim through kelp and not scream like a banshee!

And so the Bluetit Swim Coach Programme was born. We trained our now Head Swim Coach, Makala, who ran Open Water Swimming courses in summer 2021 for everyone from Hesistant Dippers to those who wanted to learn to swim heads down. They were a huge success, and we have now rolled out our swim coach programme across the UK, with an overseas project in the pipeline.

Kerri Anne at Straight Line Swimming created a bespoke Bluetit Swim Coach course, and just a few months later, 20 swim coaches are heading to Lake 32 in the Cotswolds to complete their STA Level 2 Open Water Swim Coach qualification this weekend! There follows months of support to help them run a successful small business.

This is a huge deal for The Bluetits as an organisation and for the community. It means that our first bursary-funded project is directly investing in a safe, confident and capable community, and empowers both those taking part in the coaching and the coaches themselves. We are incredibly excited!

How will it work?

  • Each coach will be self-employed and have the freedom to run their own swim coach business as they wish. As this is part of the outputs of our organisation and meets our mission, the Bluetits will not take any percentage of their income.
  • Each coach will be expected to offer one Bluetit introductory swim session, at a low cost, per month. This will be entirely separate to the social swims that already happen in the groups.
  • The coaches will have permission to use the Bluetit logo in their promotional material, and be able to call themselves a Bluetit Certified Swim Coach.
  • Once qualified, we will be putting each coach in touch with their local admin(s), so an ongoing relationship can begin to build.
  • Your local coach will be mentioned in their local group(s)’s description, and be able to post in the group about their Bluetit specific sessions, lessons and courses. Admins of the group can help their Bluetits access the local coach by pinning these posts.
  • Should an admin feel that a coach is posting too often or too little in the group, they are advised to contact the coach and Makala, our head swim coach.
  • Coaches will receive social media advice as part of their training, so will have their own Facebook/Instagram/website to direct Bluetits to.
  • There will be a directory on the Bluetit website listing each coach.

It is our aim that each group feels safer, more confident, capable, and empowered by having a Bluetit coach in their midst.

We will excitedly announce when our Bluetit coaches are up and running!!

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Rising Costs, and what we’re doing about it

When The Bluetits first began, it consisted of a few friends dipping on Porthsele beach in Pembrokeshire, and sitting around a fire afterwards, putting the world to rights and having a good laugh while doing it. Badges were always a feature of The Bluetits, and as it grew, Sian and her husband Alan found that the expense of badges alone was getting a bit out of hand! So, in September 2020, The Bluetits became a social enterprise that needed to sustain itself and wanted to achieve social aims in line with The Bluetit ethos.

And we’ve done that. With your help, we have built an organisation that now employs a whole team, has contributed to the training of 20 Bluetit swim coaches, given out thousands of free badges and, most importantly, facilitates the daily Bluetitting of tens of thousands of Bluetits all over the world.

Why The Bluetits needs to generate money

In order to keep the wheels turning, the lights on, the groups going and the badges flowing, we have to generate income. To make money to fund our vision we sell merchandise, create paid challenges and organise swim events. As a small organisation we cannot buy in thousands of pounds worth of stock to get the sorts of prices that huge retailers get so our bespoke kit designs bring us in a small margin that helps to fund everything.

Once we have designed and bought in the stock, paid our retail team a living wage for it to be packed and posted, and all the customer service that goes on around that, we are left with a small percentage.

Those costs are going up

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone when we say that costs are soaring, and that percentage is getting ever smaller. Our suppliers have been forced to up their prices, which eats into our share, and eventually has a knock-on effect on the sustainability of The Bluetits.

Financial Inclusivity

Inclusivity is a core Bluetit value. Along with Fun and Trust, it is at the heart of everything we do. Financial inclusitvity is a massive part of this. Being a Bluetit will always be free. You will always be welcome in this community whatever you wear, whatever kit you have and however much cake you bring. That first time badge will remain free – that is a promise.

And, we have to make enough money from those sales of merchandise to make the organisation sustainable and able to meet its social aims. If we don’t, then the organisation would cease to exist, with consequences for our staff, admins and Bluetits the world over.

So, what are we doing about it?

We are increasing the price of our original Bluetit swimsuit to £50. This increase is simply enough to bring us back to the margin we were achieving before costs started to rise.

Of course, if you’re feeling the pinch and still want to flaunt your Bluetit status, we now have our Iron On Bluetit Patch, which means that you can make anything a piece of Bluetit kit!

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Naomi

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

Today, we’re telling a Reading Bluetit’s tale, Naomi.

“Becoming a Bluetit has changed my life. I have wanted to be the kind of brave person that swam in chilly rivers, under waterfalls and had a wild life for a long time but I didn’t think I could be that person or that the opportunities to do those things existed near me. On holiday I would gingerly creep into a pond or lake, shivering in the cold and then I’d come home having loved the experience but thinking that I couldn’t do it again until the next trip away.

I’ve found the last couple of years during the pandemic really hard, the move to working from home, the huge change in routine, a close family member with a cancer diagnosis, massive changes at work with a very small team, it all felt like too much. I also felt very lonely, having been used to days in a busy office with colleagues I really liked, suddenly being on my own at home, just me, my husband and our rabbits was a big change and I really missed the laughs, jokes and chats.

On a day out last June I dipped in the sea, it made me feel great – relaxed and happy. I made a decision that this was something I wanted to do more of. I booked a guided swim with the lovely Dip Advisor, Ella, tried out a swim in a local lake and another guided swim and then, adding myself to swimming groups on Facebook, I stumbled on the Reading Bluetits. It’s one of the best things to happen to me.

Since last July when I had my first swim with the Bluetits I have swum 230 times. I’ve been in the water every week since then, including right through the winter. I’ve been to the Bluetits gatherings at Lake 32, swum in a tutu, silly hats, a santa costume, a bunny girl outfit, my birthday suit and nothing but a tiara. I’ve bobbed around on an inflatable, swooshed downriver with the winter current, swam in pouring rain, bright sunshine and stinging hail. Best of all though, I’ve found my flock. I have met the most wonderful, supportive, accepting, friendly, up for anything group of people that anyone could wish for. They are there to boost you up and cheer you on when something is going well, a friendly ear when you need a chat about something that’s bothering you as you swim, and people to check up on you on a bad day and make sure you are OK. There have been birthday parties, nights out, and lots and lots of laughs and fun in the river and local lakes. I don’t feel lonely anymore, there’s no time to, when the next swim and chance to have a chat and a laugh is always planned. Last weekend I went to London with a group of tit friends to swim in the ponds and Lido on Hampstead Heath, a wonderful way to kickstart a whole summer of Titty Adventures. We have full moon swims planned to celebrate a birthday, a day at the local lake trying out the aqua park and paddleboarding, plenty of fancy dress swim ideas and a whole shared bucket list of things we want to try from adult soft play to waterfall swims and a whole smorgasbord of fun in between.

I didn’t realise how much I had lost my spark but it’s back now and I am loving life. My Mum says she has never seen me so consistently happy. I’m finding it so much easier to shrug off the stresses of my job- slipping into the river with friends at the end of a long day is the perfect way to relax and unwind. I never thought I would be brave enough to swim in the Thames, but now I can’t imagine a week without it. Becoming a Bluetit has changed my life.”

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Shellie

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

Today, we’re telling Shellie’s tale. Shellie swims with the Wirral Bluetits.

“I have always struggled with body confidence, confidence in general. During the lockdowns, I became particularly depressed and my confidence nosedived even more. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to my doctor and have since been taking medication which has helped ease the depression.

Towards the end of the second lockdown, I started to look for an activity that might help with my mental health and confidence issues. I came across the Bluetits on Facebook and found my local flock.

With much trepidation I went down to the bay, completely covered from head to toe in my baggiest warmest clothes with my cozzie underneath, just in case I found the courage to actually dip my toes.

I really needn’t have worried, I was made incredibly welcome by the lovely ladies who were casting off clothes with not a care in the world. They literally took me by the hand for my first dip.

I can’t begin to explain how I’m benefiting from chill dipping. My head simply empties of doubts and worries and I get such a phenomenal rush of happiness from the swims and amazing company and friends I’ve made.

I swim in skins and have a growing collection of funky costumes. No one cares what I look like and as a result, neither do I.

My only regret is it’s taken me 56 years to finally find my tribe!”

The Wirral Bluetits at one of their incredible Full Moon Swims! Photo: Alison Martin

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Emmie

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

First up is our wonderful admin from Shingle Street Bluetits, Emmie Scott.

“My journey began with me being afraid to leave my own home, to now going on adventures constantly. I would yearn for the sea. I grew up near the sea, with tales of Selkies and waves. I would go to bed and hope to wake up living as a mermaid. I was utterly obsessed. I am not sure how I found the Bluetits or how the Bluetits found me, but I got well and truly swooped up in that flock.

I was excited to see a Bluetits group on my doorstep. I could never dream that I was about to deepen my connection to the water further and meet a fantastic group of people along the way.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism as a young adult. I have 4 children and a husband, so life is busy. But, being in the sea, floating around, and laughing makes me feel free. ADHD can make me feel excluded or awkward, but none of these feelings ever have reared their head while being with the Bluetits. In the water, I do not feel awkward. It has changed my life.

I joined the group in June 2021 and have done over 210 swims in less than a year. Quite a feat for someone who didn’t really leave the house for over 3 years. Being a Bluetit has changed my life.

I now co-admin our local group and get to encourage others to embark on this journey and support each other in our friendships and love along the way. What happens in the water stays in the water. I am forever grateful. Solidarity to all fellow Bluetits.”

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Bluetitting with Visit Guernsey

Remember that glorious weather we had at the end of March? When we all thought summer had arrived and started merrily putting our winter coats into storage, just in time for the snow to start? Well, Sian spent that wonderful week travelling around the islands of Guernsey and Alderney! We weren’t jealous at all…

It was all part of a collaboration with Visit Guernsey, who are keen to show off all that Guernsey has to offer to casual dippers looking to discover new and exciting spots to explore. Sian visited with her son and cameraman, Wil, who is creating some incredible edits of their time there that will be released very soon. 

In the meantime, here’s Sian, chatting with Sarah about her time there. They sat and talked while sipping on coffee as the rain hammered against the caravan windows on Sian’s campsite in Pembrokeshire. The conversation somehow transported both of them to the white sands and glistening seas of late March in Guernsey, we hope it does the same for you!

So, what did you get up to in Guernsey??

I spent 4 marvellous days travelling around Guernsey to find amazing swim spots – it’s a hard life! My idea of being in Guernsey was very much to be able to scope it out as a go-to place for people who wanted to enjoy a lovely holiday that was based around swimming. So the entire time I was there I was looking for things that would excite a Bluetit – and that’s me of course!

So that’s not just swim spots, it’s everything. It’s being able to park my car, have great access to a beach, the beach being beautiful, and then finishing the day off with some lovely food. I have to say that Guernsey has absolutely everything. It wasn’t difficult to find all of these things in one package.

Sounds amazing, and perhaps tricky to know where to start in a place you’ve never been to before. How did you kick it off?

A fantastic lady called Rachel met us off the plane. She runs a company called 1st Call Guernsey Tours and so she whisked me off in her little Mini Cooper and off we went to our first port of call, Portlet. There was a little kiosk there selling Guernsey crab sandwiches and this was very delightful when we arrived because the sun was shining. The hut is right on this little prominent bit of headland.

Oh god, my mouth’s watering already, I should have brought snacks! So this first day was to get your bearings and work out how to get around? Was that easy enough?

It’s very easy! There’s a brilliant bus service that runs around the island, and many swimmers I met said that’s how they do it. We hired a car, which is interesting because they do have a 35 mile an hour speed limit. But the best thing is the parking is completely free!

This is a massive bonus because I spent the week travelling around and looking for swim spots of course. Wil was driving the car and I was shouting,  STOOOOOP!! and leaping out getting into my swimsuit. He’s getting the cameras ready, a quick swim, back in the car, and onto the next one. Guernsey is marvellous for this because you don’t have to pay for parking. So it’s brilliant that you don’t have seven different bloody parking tickets in your windscreen and you’re looking around for money or you’re looking around for a credit card. So those were my first discoveries, that the crab was amazing and parking is free.

So, tell me about swimming! Did you meet up with any Bluetits?

I did! I swam at Port Soif with the Guernsey Bluetits and the Guernsey All Season Swimmers. They were so kind to me, they’d written ‘Bore Da’ on the sand in driftwood and seaweed! A really fantastic group of people.

A dream of mine for a while has been to capture a drone shot of synchronised swimming. I’d actually been talking to Wil about it the night before. And anyhow I get to the beach chit chatting to them and they were telling me all about the things they get up to. So they have their night swims, their candle swims, their morning swims, big picnic breakfasts, you name it, they do it, and they do it daily. Swimming is very much part of their life. A lot of them were there in their Guernsey robes. The sun was shining. They were already getting their picnics out.

And they mentioned that they had done a synchronised swim a couple of days ago! It turns out one of them used to be a competitive synchronised swimmer! So Wil gets the drone out and she’s shouting instructions to us in the water. It was just incredible. I can’t wait for you to see it on the edit!

Were there many people swimming in Guernsey?

I think everybody swims in Guernsey. There was swimmer after swimmer after swimmer they were like lemmings going into the sea all the way across the beaches. I was trying to swim with as many people as possible. So the car was stopped. I got out, swam, got back in the car. I gave up getting dressed in the end because it was pointless!

What was your swimming highlight of the trip?

It has to be Venus Pool at Lihou Island. You can only access the Island at low tide across a cobbled causeway. So this bit already thrilled me because we were there a little bit early. The tide was dropping, which then revealed this causeway! The Venus Pool is a little way down some rocks, and is large enough for a swim but small enough to feel just magical. 

Because the tide is so low there, a lot of people swim at half to high tide or high to half because the reefs are too big. So when I was in this sea pool I could see the reefs beyond and the waves crashing onto these reefs. So I’m in this really silent little pool, but in the distance, you know, I could hear the crashing of the waves. That really was something.

I’ve seen a picture of you on a kayak too?

Oh yes! We headed to Petit Bot, a beach on the South side of the island that has more cliffs rather than the sloping beaches of the North. There we met Josh from Outdoor Guernsey. He took us around Petit Bot Bay which is very Pembrokeshire-esque with lots of little islands to kayak around. Of course with the 10 metre tides, the lovely tall cliffs were fascinating because you’re looking up at all these different lichens on the cliff which were an awful lot higher than here.

You’ve mentioned the food A LOT since you got back. How was it?

Just divine. Basically, if you like swimming and food, you’ll love Guernsey. We ate at some lovely restaurants and they each took real pride in what they were doing, there was this one place….

(Sian talked for a very, very long time about food. We know you have lives to get on with, so here’s a little summary.)

Roc Salt – Sian was feeling very shivery after a sunset swim, and the very kind waiter noticed and brought her some blankets. They ate fresh seafood and absolutely loved it.

Guernsey Hamper Company – Delivered a picnic hamper to Sian’s chosen swim spot in a little electric van. Amazing!

Octopus – A restaurant at St Peter Port overlooking the marina. Sian and Wil chose their lobsters from a tank. In 3 words – Flamboyant, extravagant, unreal!

Where did you stay? Was it beautiful? I don’t know if I want to know!!

Sorry, but oh yes, beautiful. We stayed in The Farmhouse, and when I arrived there I just stood and stared at the room for about 5 minutes, it was so beautiful. Everything I’d want from a hotel room.

You went to Alderney as well didn’t you?

Yes! We took the little Dornier plane to Alderney which was a 20 minute flight. Really, really easy. I mean it was, I believe, £120.00 return so it might not be something you do on an afternoon, but after my experience in Alderney, I would definitely make that part of my holiday if I went there again because the flight was thrilling in itself!

We were met in Alderney by a very interesting man called Bill who took us in his taxi to the Braye Beach Hotel which is on a beach in Alderney. It was just, oh my god, it was stunning. We ate at a place called the Georgian House, which was delightfully laid back. It had locals in sailing shirts and people dressed up to the nines.

Did you swim in Alderney?

I had the pleasure of swimming at Fort Corblets with Claire and her friends who were called the Swim and Soup Swimmers! We sat in the sunshine afterwards, and we had our soup because that’s what they do, it was just amazing.

What in particular did you like about Alderney?

It’s an incredible community. They were so keen to promote their island and really welcoming. Like Guernsey, they seemed to have everything. There were shops, cafes, there were pubs, there were three churches. You can get married there on a beach. You know it’s very laid back. Very beautiful.

It sounds idyllic. So, to finish off, what’s the first thing we’re doing when you take us all to Guernsey??

On the final morning, at 6.30am, we went to La Vallette Bathing Pools. They have 3 pools there that are closed off to the sea, but they fill at high tide. And then one pool which could be described as like a little harbour at high tide. They’ve also provided steps into the sea so the whole swimming experience there was incredible. I wished I hadn’t been there on the last day as we had a plane to catch!

I watched people arriving, having what my mother would have called a Constitutional Swim, and then having a coffee and setting off for work or for breakfast at Octopus next door.

First on my list when I return is to spend an entire day at these bathing pools, eating at Octopus and having a picnic lunch, meeting people, and soaking up the atmosphere. It was truly wonderful, and I can’t wait to go back!

The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Ltd has partnered with Visit Guernsey to check out Guernsey as a holiday destination for Bluetits. Visit Guernsey paid Sian and Wil for their filming work, and paid their expenses on this trip. VG has also paid The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Ltd for our participation, including this blog and some exciting social media content. Sian has been completely honest about her experience in Guernsey (she doesn’t really know how to be anything else!) and it’s important to us that Bluetits understand that our social enterprise has received financial contributions for this content.

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The Bluetits are Never Knowingly Subtle

Recently, we received a comment on a picture of our much loved Bluetit Swimsuit. It said ‘This looks like it’s been made for a child.’ After some back and forth, we realised that this commenter meant this negatively. What made us all giggle at HQ was that it didn’t occur to us for a second that it could be a bad thing!

Bluetitting helps us to get in touch with our… what to call it? Inner child? Silly gene? F*** it response? Whatever you call it, and whatever it is for you, it’s something that we can gradually bury as we grow up. This burying stops us skipping, laughing loudly, wearing whatever we like and, ultimately, being our true selves.

You may find, at a dip, this part of you bursts out. Sometimes it’s a scream when a bit of seaweed touches you, or your favourite expletive that you never usually say in public. It might be a belly laugh til it hurts, or daring to skip down to the sea. It might simply be turning up, or offering around your pack of biscuits.

As you Bluetit more and more, this courage to be unapologetically you will start to leak into your life in between swims. You may find yourself speaking up in a work meeting, or asking someone out. Or just wearing that flamboyant coat you’ve always kept in the wardrobe.

Whatever stage of Bluetittery you’re at, whether you’ve just started, haven’t yet or are fully fledged, our new Never Knowingly Subtle range of swimwear is designed to help you shed that bit more of the crap that we put on ourselves.

Strut down the beach in a Cupcake Two Piece, or don a Whale Cossie and embrace the freedom of wearing what you like and not giving a hoot! Choose from a range of colourful, joyful designs and rediscover the fun of dressing up.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP THE RANGE!

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The Bluetit Effect

The Blue Tit Effect was a phenomenon discovered around the 1950s. Bird watchers and milk lovers alike noticed that Bluetits were pecking through milk bottle caps on doorsteps to get to the delicious cream inside. The Blue Tit turned out to be the only bird that did this consistently. The amazing part? It turned out that this was a learned behaviour, passed from Blue Tit to Blue Tit. Robins gave it a go, and some succeeded, but failed to pass it on to any other robins. This means (well we like to think it does) that originally there was just one brave, pesky blue tit who took the plunge. Others watched, and went off to try it themselves. This is known as the Blue Tit Effect.

Now, we only heard about The Blue Tit Effect a couple of months ago, a chance conversation between Sian and a camper. How wonderful it would have been if we could claim that Sian had known this 7 years ago and thus named the group of dipping friends after the phenomenon. Alas no, it was much more to do with how bloomin’ cold the water got that winter! All the same, the parallel is marvelous, isn’t it?

We began with one Bluetit, wiggling into her cossie on the beach, approaching the water and taking the plunge. The whooping and hollering attracted other Bluetits, who joined her and went off to spread the word. We have our own Bluetit Effect, and it has given us the absolute belief that the actions of one Bluetit have the potential to change thousands of lives.

What marks a Bluetit out isn’t just that you get in the water. It isn’t just that you get in the water making a great deal of noise and laughing all the way. What makes a Bluetit is a drive to spread the joy. Whether you shout from the rooftops about the incredible benefits of cold water swimming, or simply welcome a new person to a swim with a smile or an offer of a piece of cake, Bluetits are inclusive, kind and see any person discovering swimming as a positive.

So why are we telling you this now? Well, it has clarified our vision for the next stage of The Bluetits.

It is one year since we became a social enterprise, and Sian’s husband Alan breathed a sigh of relief as they let go of the responsibility to personally fund badges, which had become a beast since the days of four or five ‘Tits on the local beach. Since then, The Bluetits has been completely funded by the sale of merchandise and some media work.

Now, many start ups fail within their first year, and so this year has been about making sure that we cover our costs so we can continue to spread the joy for years to come!

Our main running costs are:

  • Free badges – each Bluetit is given a badge on their first swim free of charge. We absolutely love this part of newbie swims, and these badges cost more and more the more we grow!
  • A postage and packing assistant. – In order to keep up with the demand for merchandise (you lot love a badge!) we have a part time packing assistant.
  • Rent – We have a caravan where we work, meet and post from!

Our core team at HQ – Sian, Gail, Sam & Sarah – have done the vast majority of their work unpaid. As The Bluetits grows, so does the work involved in keeping things running day to day, and this becomes unsustainable as we all have other jobs and therefore limited time. We are therefore looking at funding to help us devote more time to this magnificent beast.

Once our costs are covered, as a not-for-profit we begin to look at ways to spend excess money in line with our mission – to create a capable, confident community through cold water swimming and adventures.

What we’ve done so far:

  • Changed thousands of lives every day. – We forget this bit sometimes! Simply by keeping things running, supporting our incredible admins, and answering messages every day, we know that we are making a difference in people’s lives because you tell us we are!
  • Safety Edits – We encourage all Bluetits to take responsibility for themselves in the water, and this year we created a series of safety edits to help our community gain confidence and knowledge to do so.
  • Training guides – We gifted training to four local Bluetits who wanted to be adventure guides. They are now running Bluetit Adventures on the Pembrokeshire coast, and plans are well underway to roll these out nationwide.
  • Offering training to our admins – We are in constant contact with our group admins and are rolling out training to help them manage their groups with confidence.

As this pot gradually grows, we got around a table. ‘The’ Sian crocheted, Beans (Gail) pulled together crumpled receipts from the depths of the others bags, Young’un (Sarah) flicked through the Insta-wotsit and Compo (Sam) clapped her hands and in her lovely yet occasionally threatening Valleys lilt said ‘Right, come on, ideas time.’

And thus the vision for ‘The Bluetit Effect Bursary’ was born. From the belief that one Bluetit figuring out how to do something they love can change the lives of others the world over. When Beans deems us ready to do so, we shall open applications, asking you how we can help you to peck your milk bottle, so that others can peck theirs.

As we figure out exactly what this will look like, we will let you know more, and ultimately begin investing in individuals to help them reach their cream and in turn help others to reach theirs.

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2020 – The Year of The Bluetits

2020 has been an interesting year for all of us. At Bluetit HQ, it has been one to remember for more reasons than the obvious. The Bluetits has grown in a way we could not have predicted, and in between dealing with all the challenges this pandemic has thrown at us, we have been busy working to make this community one that can continue to grow and spread the joy of cold water swimming to as many people as possible.

We’ve been a part of the gradual growth of the cold water swimming movement for a while now, and this year the experience we’ve built up over the last 6 years has stood us in great stead at a time when The Bluetits has surged forward and continues to do so.

We are so grateful to those of you who have been a part of this movement in 2020. ‘Bluetit HQ’ are 4 women living on the edge of Wales who really bloomin’ love swimming. Every time you reach out with stories of how the Bluetits has been life-changing, photos of your swims, funny stories of your adventures, and so on, we do a happy dance (or cry, depending on how the mood takes us!) It’s tough being a swimmer during lockdowns and social distancing regulations, and this community has bowled us over with your positivity and enthusiasm for fun whatever it looks like!

We wanted to take a moment to share what we’ve been up to and celebrate some of the Bluetit highlights this year!

  • We have seen new flocks taking flight all across the world and now have nearly 90 worldwide! In 2020, the Bluetits’ Facebook following went from just under 2000 to over 7000! We’re absolutely thrilled that so many have discovered the joys of swimming this year.
  • On the 1st of September, The Bluetits Chill Swimmers became a social enterprise. Social enterprises are businesses that have a social or environmental purpose. This means that they reinvest any profits back into the business in order to deliver more of their social or environmental purpose. The Bluetit mission is to create a confident, capable community through cold water swimming and adventures.

With this mission in mind, we launched our new range of official merchandise, designed by Bluetit founder Sian! It reflects all that The Bluetits is about – fun, bright, and inclusive!

The Bluetit Swimsuit – launched 2020

We launched the Arctic Flappers Challenge; a fun winter swimming challenge to encourage our Bluetits to acclimatise to cold water with 20 swims over 21 weeks of winter. Over 2000 of you signed up! Again, cue many happy dances. The Arctic Flappers Facebook group is such a fun space to be a part of, and we’re loving seeing your photos and reading about your experiences.

We worked on our values this year; Fun, Trust, and Inclusivity. We also formed our strapline – Challenging Our Limits, Together. We launched the offer of Swim Walk Adventures, where Bluetits can challenge their limits in a supportive environment while having loads of fun! The first of these will run in 2021.

The profits we have made are already being put to good use. This year we began training local swim walk leaders in Pembrokeshire, creating employment in the community. We have plans to offer training across our groups in the future!

We have also now launched our training for our volunteer admins, meaning that they will start 2021 more supported than ever. We cannot thank them enough for their positivity, patience, and support this year.

Alongside all this we maintain our focus for fun and improving physical and mental health by challenging our limits, together!

Here’s to 2021, let the ripples continue!

Bluetit HQ – Sian, Gail, Sam & Sarah x