Chilly Dippers freshen up in Wirral waters

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Sea swimming has become a lockdown craze

Wirral’s cold winter weather has been no match for one group devoted to taking pleasure in cold-water swimming regardless of the temperature.

Every day, people from the Happy Chilly Dippers take a quick dip into the waters around the peninsula’s coastline to enjoy a host of health benefits.

Jasmin Seddon, the founder of Happy Chilly Dippers, told JMU Journalism how it began: “I was going through a stressful time and I found myself just wanting to get in the sea.

“I found that when you’re going through a really stressful time and there’s a million things going through your mind, if you go in the sea, everything just suddenly stops. All you can think about is the cold and trying to be with your breath.”

Ms Seddon wanted to share with others the amazing benefits, so she set up a Facebook page at the beginning of March last year, a few weeks before the first lockdown.

The page has grown from just 40 followers in the first week to a staggering 3100 a year later.

She said: “From the Facebook page, small groups of people began to come down and start dipping in the sea. Having another person to swim with gives you a kind of group morale and motivates you. And then after you feel amazing.

“The community has grown and now there are hundreds of people that come along. It’s about supporting each other.”

With people being unable to take part in their usual sports, this has become the activity of choice because it can easily be done within a bubble.

The new craze has swept the country despite Covid-19 restrictions and brings many advantages.

Ms Seddon, from New Brighton, said: “There are so many benefits to cold-water swimming. It’s proven to boost your immune system, if done regularly can reduce stress by 50%, helps burn calories, boosts your blood circulation and increases your libido too.

“And from a mental health perspective it helps reduce anxiety and depression. A lot of our Chilly Dippers have been able to come off medication after consistently doing it because they’ve found a new way to manage their symptoms.”

The Chilly Dippers is going from strength to strength and there are plans to expand on the success they have found through the pandemic.

Ms Seddon said: “It literally started as a community but now with so many followers and participants I can see that there is so much more potential.

“We want to expand on what we have and start a community interest company that does yoga sessions, community walks, beach cleans and workshops along with support networks for those that struggle with their mental health enabling us to help them join in the activities and swimming in the sea too.”

 

About Gioia Dalosso Hemnell, JMU Journalism