Our Social Impact
The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Ltd is a social enterprise, with the aim to create a capable, confident community through cold water swimming. All our profits go back into helping our worldwide community thrive.
What is a Social Enterprise?
Social enterprises are businesses that have a social or environmental purpose. This means that they reinvest any profit they make back into the business in order to deliver more of their social or environmental purpose. A social enterprise is still a business, and it needs to generate profits and be sustainable.
The way it works is very similar to a charity, except instead of relying on donations to keep going, we rely on the sale of merchandise, challenges and events to keep the lights on, the team employed and continue to support our community. In this way, The Bluetits is funded by Bluetits, for Bluetits.
There are no shareholders in the company so our profits are not paid out to investors. Instead, they stay in the business and go towards supporting us in delivering our mission - to create a confident, capable community through cold water swimming.
The Bluetit Social Impact
We're so proud of the impact The Bluetits has already had in just over 2 years of operating as a social enterprise. This community is fantastic, and the support you all give one another and the organisation is phenomenal! Here are some of the ways in which we have made an impact so far:
We have created a capable, confident community of over 100,000 Bluetits worldwide. This community exists in our online groups which are full of support, joy and friendship. These groups are run by volunteers who are supported and coordinated by the team at HQ. More recently, Bluetit Holidays have provided opportunities for Bluetits to travel and connect with likeminded people around the UK.
Outdoor swimming is not new, and The Bluetits didn't invent it. The thing that made The Bluetits different when we started dipping back in 2014 was the complete absence of competition. There are no timings, no stop watches. Our thermometers are purely for our own interest (and are often in the shape of rubber ducks!) and we support one another in and out of the water. The promotion of this non-competitive way of enjoying open water has continued through our challenges and events, and mean that people are completing distance events and challenging themselves in ways that simply weren't open to them before we came along.
Free Badges, Free Dipping, Free Community
Inclusivity is one of our core values, and financial inclusivity is a big part of that. Being a Bluetit is, and will always be, free. All you need is some swimwear, a towel and you're good to go. Every Bluetit receives a free badge on their first swim, showing that they have become part of an amazing community.
Since The Bluetits became a social enterprise, we have been putting a portion of our income into a pot labeled The Bluetit Bursary, for projects that would contribute to training people in the community to further our mission. In 2022 we subsidised the training of 20 Bluetit Swim Coaches, who are now up and running and providing inclusive coaching to fellow Bluetits in the UK. Find out more here.
The Bluetit Tit Tat Market
To further our commitment to financial inclusivity we created and facilitate The Bluetit Tit Tat Market. This is a Facebook community of over 7000 Bluetits buying and selling second hand swim kit. As a small organisation, balancing financial inclusivity with environmental sustainability is an ongoing challenge, and we are proud to be able to offer this space which offers both!
The Bluetits has been a huge driver in people discovering the joys of swimming in the sea, rivers, lakes, and any body of water we can get our bums in! We are passionate about helping Bluetits to keep themselves safe. We have produced a series of safety videos 'Don't Be A Tit, Be A Bluetit' and work with the likes of Professor Mike Tipton and the RNLI to continue to bring safety messaging to Bluetits. We empower individuals to inform themselves enough to take responsibility for themselves, furthering their confidence and capability.
World Bluetit Day
The Bluetits Chill Swimmers became a social enterprise during the pandemic, at a time when we were all literally disconnected from one another physically. In creating and supporting online communities, encouraging outdoor social activity and helping our volunteer admins to navigate the uniquely tricky situations that restrictions provided, we helped to foster connections between people all over the world. 2021 saw the first World Bluetit Day celebrate that international connection, and in 2022 we went bigger, with a 6 hour live online event connecting Bluetits worldwide.
In 2023, we're hitting the road! We will see events all over the UK, (and eventually the world!) with non-competitive swimming alongside safety talks, coaching sessions and other activities that contribute to a capable, confident community.
We're putting together a survey to find out what else our community wants to see next from The Bluetits! Look out for that coming January 2023.