Chill Southend- funded cold water therapy courses

by Chill Southend in Westcliff-on-Sea, , United Kingdom

Total raised £1,040

raised so far



Chill - not for profit organisation who wish to offer funded courses to offer cold water immersion to naturally treat anxiety and depression

by Chill Southend in Westcliff-on-Sea, , United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 22nd December 2023 we'd raised £1,040 with 10 supporters in 55 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Who we are ?- We are Chill 1701523107_nhs+socially+prescribed+prescription+cold+water+swimming+.jpg

It’s no secret that cold water swimming has a huge number of health benefits. Many people in the UK have been using it as a means to regulate physical and emotional health for some time, which begs the question – why isn’t it offered on the NHS as an alternative to prescription medication and therapy? Anecdotal accounts attest to the miracle-like qualities of cold water in combating physical ailments such as inflammation, improving mood, and reducing and even alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety, yet despite this, it’s still not offered as a recognised treatment.  

After discovering the joy of cold water swimming for himself, Mike Morris (founder of Chill) knows all too well how beneficial it can be. However, it wasn’t until he set up the Exmoor Open Water Swim that he really began to notice the extent of it. Mike tells me, “It was amazing how many middle aged ladies were appearing at the finish line without wetsuits. Not only were they surviving the cold conditions, but they were top of their game – so enthused and buzzing.” Inspired to learn more, Mike began reading about cold water immersion and came up with the idea to get more people – including anyone over the age of eighteen – into the water.

Since then, Chill has set up swim hubs around the county and facilitated cold water swimming programmes for groups of people with depression and anxiety. Amongst them has been a recent research programme with 160 NHS workers in London and Cornwall. Based on a watered down version of surf life saving, interspersed with knowledge on health benefits and safety precautions, the programmes aim to build participants' confidence in the water whilst also allowing them to soak up the health benefits of cold water immersion. When I ask what the programmes entail, Mike tells me, “We’ve got a load of tools in our toolkit. In an 8-week course we cover duck diving, floating, breathing techniques and swimming increasing distances, amongst other things.” 

Not only are the programmes succeeding in getting more people into the water and enjoying themselves, but they also allow Chill to collate the quantitative data needed to encourage the NHS to prescribe cold water swimming in the future. Participants fill out a questionnaire before, after and three months after completing the course, which allows researchers to gather information on whether the programme is helping or not.  This data will later be published in a report and provide valuable evidence in favour of making cold water swimming available as part of social prescribing. 

Why isn’t cold water swimming socially prescribed in the UK? 

Because of a lack of quantitative data – whereby the impact of cold water swimming is tested and observed on a large number of people – the evidence is not yet strong enough for cold water swimming to qualify as an alternative prescription. Thankfully, Mike Morris, founder of Chill says this is precisely what the non-profit is working towards changing. “We want to put proof behind the pudding – to prove to people and the NHS that cold water swimming is an effective way of controlling and helping people with anxiety and depression.” 

Making socially prescribed cold water swimming accessible 

Whilst it is possible to experience the benefits of cold water swimming as individuals, Mike says that feedback is showing that the hubs work particularly well because “the social side of the swim is really important”. So far, there are seven Chill hubs – in Kent, Brighton, Worcestershire, Bournemouth, London, Cornwall and Devon. However, hopes are that there will be many more in the future. When I ask Mike how he intends to do this, he explains that “the idea is for people in the local area to set up hubs with Chill’s support”. Through a combination of coaching courses led by olympic champion open water swimmer Keri-anne Payne and additional training, each hub will be run by a coach and qualified beach lifeguard. Eventually, it is hoped that there will be enough hubs around the country that anyone suffering from depression or anxiety can easily access a cold water swimming programme.

Why are we crowd funding?

Chill Southend wants to bring to Essex- fully funded courses to help sufferers with anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, cancer sufferers and their families and many more, to experience the natural relief the cold water can have.  I have benefitted first hand from being able to immerse myself in the estuary, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to safely get into the water.  We also recognise the impact on social interaction, and will actively encourage participants to continue and bond with each other moving forward.

Each course is over 8 sessions, and we can have up to 16 participants on each course.  We rely on funding to be able to run the courses, and build a hub here in Southend.  We want to reach out the NHS, run research projects and help everyone to naturally relieve their physical and mental health symptoms in a safe and financially free way.  We want to lead the charge, along with our nationwide hubs, to campaign for socially prescribed cold water sessions.

How will we spend the money raised ?

We need funding in order to run the courses for free for participants who might otherwise not be given this opportunity.

The money raised will pay for staffing to run the courses, safety equipment such as rescue tubes, tow floats beach flags etc

We would love to purchase changing robes for our participants to borrow for the course duration, and further warming items we can use across all courses.

Being able to offer funded courses benefits the community by helping to support social inclusion, promote accessibility to all and most importantly raise awareness of managing a range of physical ailments naturally

About me

I am a keen cold water swimmer, and for years have personally experienced the mental health and physical health benefits of cold water immersion. I am a teacher and a Mum who swims almost daily in the Estuary at Chalkwell, and want to be able to share the benefits and joy cold water immersion brings, and share with the local community.  

We have the length of the estuary which is accessible all along the Essex coastline (when the tide is in!) why not use it for the good of peoples health?

I have been to Chill North Devon and trained personally with Mike- and am super excited to get this up and running, and part f our local community offer.

The team at Chill Southend

We have a lead coach, and a beach lifeguard at every session.  We will encourage previous participants to volunteer for future sessions thus becoming sustainable and expanding the number of courses we can offer.  Our future aim is to host hubs all along the estuary coastline

We are fully insured with policies and qualified coaches ready to go.

Every course will have 2 DBS checked staff, beach lifeguard, risk assessments and safety equipment as a bare minimum.

How you can help

We need to raise a minimum of £1500 in order to run the first course.  This will fund 16 spaces over 8 sessions.    

By donating even a small amount you will be helping bring the benefits of cold water therapy to 

Testimonials from our other Hubs.

'I have participated in a Chill course and it has changed my life. Thank you Mike and the dedicated trainers


This project offered rewards

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Free 1-1 introduction to cold water immersion session.

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