News – Charity skinny dip event announced for July 2021
After postponing last year’s date due to coronavirus concerns, the South-West Skinny Dip is now set to return in July 2021 – and the organisers have provided us with some early details on how you can be involved, along with the ways in which the event is raising funds and awareness for mental health charity, Mind.
After a disappointing (yet understandable) cancellation of last year’s event, a repeat of 2019’s hugely successful, inaugural SW Skinny event has been arranged for Sunday, July 11, 2021 at Summerleaze Beach in Bude, Cornwall.
The first event, held in May 2019, saw 150 people bravely stripping off at the same location to raise awareness and funds for mental health charity, Mind – and the dip was timed to coincide with the final day of the increasingly-important Mental Health Awareness Week.
The SW Skinny is primarily an event for those who hold mental health issues close to their heart, organisers tell us, and people come together to make friends, share stories around the campfire, confront their own personal demons by taking a step out of their comfort zones to challenge fears and insecurities and – with the encouragement of camaraderie – run into the sea together.
Organised by local resident, Ruth Hunt, following her own battle with depression, the first South-West Skinny Dip included people of all ages, shapes and sizes, including many who held mental health issues close to their heart.
Ruth was inspired to arrange the event to co-ordinate with the national Mental Health Awareness Week in May of each year, but in 2021, organisers decided to push the event back to the summer in order to maximise the chances of pandemic restrictions being relieved – with the hope that the public will also feel safer attending later in the year.
Speaking on the formation of the event, Ruth comments, “It just seemed like the perfect event for mental health awareness to me. It’s all about overcoming discomfort and conquering fears and insecurities, a rush of endorphins, an immense sense of achievement and bringing people together!”
Ruth overcame her own insecurities to organise the skinny-dipping event, and over the last three years has been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement coming from both seasoned skinny-dippers and first timers who love the idea of taking the plunge together.
Despite last year’s event being cancelled, funds from the ticket sales were still generously donated to Mind, resulting in a sum of over £700 being sent to the charity. This event has now raised over £5,000 for Mind in total, and organisers are hoping that this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever before – with the belief that the need to reach out for mental health support has never been greater than it is right now.
On her reasons for first arranging the event, Ruth notes, “I have suffered from depression since the break up of my marriage. I have a wonderful family and friends but it doesn’t stop that ‘big black dog’ of depression returning with little notice or regard for the strength you need to work through it when it rears its ugly head. I work in a primary school and spend a lot of time listening to the children, some of which have worries that have filtered down from parent to child. It can be heartbreaking to listen to, knowing you can’t fix these children's problems for them. I had to do something to give back, so I took on the challenge of organising the SW Skinny, and I’m literally overwhelmed by the support we’ve had and the amount raised.”
The event was supported by Cornwall Council, the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, and the Bude Surf Life Saving Club, who generously gave their time and resources to the event.
- The SW Skinny 2021 takes place at 7.30am on July 11, and there’s even the opportunity to camp out overnight ahead of the dip. To purchase tickets for the event, click here, and for further information, visit www.swskinny.org.uk.