Brrr-ave the Cold to Spread Warmth: Radisson RED’s Winter Charity Swim

Radisson RED

As the chill of winter descends even further upon Cape Town, one hotel is taking the plunge to uplift those in need. On 29 June 2024, Radisson RED Cape Town V&A Waterfront will once again host its annual charity swim, inviting the public and media to brave the icy waters of their rooftop pool and donate blankets to the 9Miles Project.

In a city where many underprivileged families lack proper bedding and warm clothing, Radisson RED Cape Town is committed to making a difference. A City of Cape Town census (in 2022) found there were 6630 people who did not have adequate shelter or were homeless on the streets of the city.  Some experts believe this number to be under-reported.

However, the struggle to stay warm in winter extends beyond the homeless population. Many low-income households in Cape Town find it challenging to keep their homes heated during winter due to poor insulation, load shedding and high energy costs. In these cases, families must resort to warming themselves rather than their living spaces, highlighting the need for community support in the form of donated blankets and clothing.

If early winter’s weather is any indication, this year’s winter could be a brutal one, giving cause for serious concern around the wellbeing of the city’s most marginalised people, and how they’ll keep warm over the coming months.

Radisson RED is dedicated to making a difference and is once again offering the public a way to get involved and do something about it.

“Radisson RED is committed to donating 200 blankets to communities in need,” says Liam Desfountain, Coach and Lead Learning & Development at Radisson RED Cape Town V&A Waterfront. “We urge everyone to bring their own blankets to donate to this cause, whether you choose to plunge into the pool or not. It’s all about keeping people warm this winter.”

“Our goal is to see 400 laps swum, but the donation of blankets does not depend on the number of laps completed. After each swim, participants will be warmed up with a hot cup of coffee and some snacks. Let’s come together to make a splash and reach our community goals!”

The act of getting cold for a cause is not just about donating blankets; it’s also about encouraging empathy and solidarity. As participants plunge into the chilly water, they’ll have a small taste of the hardships that many in their community face daily.

Participants are also encouraged to bring gently used wetsuits and surfboards, which will be donated to the 9Miles Project’s youth program. By providing access to essential equipment, this initiative helps break down the barriers that too often keep water sports exclusive and elite.

“Enjoying a rich diversity of experiences, like water sports, is what true wealth is all about. By donating equipment, we’re creating an onramp for young Cape Townians to explore new passions and opportunities,” he says.

The event, which runs from 9am to 2pm on the 29th of June, promises to be a fun and engaging day, especially for those who love swimming.

Radisson RED will warm each swimmer up after their laps, with a hot cup of coffee and some snacks. Each lap completed brings the hotel one step closer to reaching its goal of 400 laps and 200 blankets.

The charity swim is one of Radisson RED’s several activities throughout the year to uplift local communities. Earlier this year, the hotel made waves by hosting a Tattoo Day, celebrating the growing acceptance of body art in the workplace and challenging outdated stigmas.

“Bring a blanket, take the plunge into our rooftop pool, and come help us wrap Cape Town in warmth this winter,” says Desfountain.