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Dive in to our Channel Challenge

Have you always wanted to swim the English channel? We have the perfect opportunity for you!
Join Hope at Home’s swim team as we relay our way across the channel!

Swim the Channel with Hope at Home

People fleeing war, persecution or exploitation have no safe routes offered and no choice but to risk their lives crossing the channel in small boats.

Sadly, many lose their lives or face a hostile environment with a high risk of exploitation if they do make it across the shores.

By swimming across the channel and raising much-needed funds for Hope at Home, you can help us to continue offering safe homes for survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking, preventing exploitation and providing the chance for people to rebuild their lives.

Who are Hope at Home?

We are a registered charity specifically set up to operate a hosting scheme for survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking facing homelessness. We believe no survivor of slavery should ever have to sleep on the streets.

We recruit, train and support people to welcome a survivor into their homes for an agreed time period. We support the hosts while they have a guest staying and we work in partnership with agencies who provide professional support for the guest. We offer a Wellbeing Package, including mental and physical health support, to our guests to support their recovery and healing journey.

Our regular givers, or Room Sponsors, help us to continue to provide safe homes for survivors.

The Impact We’re Making

Chloe* was just 21 when she came to live with her hosts. She had experienced trauma at the hands of men who exploited her and needed a safe place to stay. Since then, Chloe started volunteering at a local youth club, began college and passed her exams and received a full scholarship to university to study Law & Criminology. She has moved on into university accommodation and hopes to become a barrister. Your support gives a survivor like Chloe the safety and stability they need to transform their life.

Sponsor a room

What to know about our Channel Challenge:

What are the requirements?

  • You’ll need to be able to swim for one hour in open water. Each swimmer will take turns to swim one hour each and then swap over until the team reaches the other side.
  • You’ll need to be experienced in swimming in cold water.
  • You’ll need to have a certified 2 hour open water swim before the day of the event.
  • You’ll need to have a medical certificate passing you as fit for swimming in open water.
  • You’ll need to register details with the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) no later than March 2025 with medical details and certification of 2 hour swim. The Lead swimmer will fill in form for this.
  • We would like all swimmers to commit to raising at least £2,500 each.
  • We would like all swimmers to commit to sharing training and publicising their training journey and sponsorship on social media.
  • You’ll need to be available on practice date(s) in Dover in May 2025 (TBC) and between 16th and 22nd of June for the actual swim. Time slots to be confirmed.
  • You must have valid passport.
  • You’ll need to be able to swim without a wetsuit and in regulated swimwear, which is bare shoulders and not below the knee (more information can be found on the CSA website).

What can I expect and how do I prepare?

The English Channel is 21 miles at its shortest distance.

Either side of Cap Gris Nez, the French Coastline drops away, so if you do not reach land at the Cap you will have further to swim to make landfall. The tide changes every 6 hours and will move you one way to another as you swim across.This is why your swim line looks like an S rather than straight line across.

You and your team should be prepared to swim 10-18 hours.

Conditions that are not always flat, often choppy, and very unpredictable and with air temperatures that can either be very hot or cold and wet.

If possible, train in the sea as much as you can.

This will enable you to experience the sea with all its elements. Continuous pool and lake swimming will not prepare you the unpredictable conditions on the day of your swim.

Make sure you acclimatise yourself to the cold – both in and out of the water.

On the day of your swim, you can expect to have force 3-4 or 8-17 miles per hour with wave heights of 3 to 5ft and possibly stronger gust and higher waves. The sea will be colder in places and salty which if you swallow too much will make you sick. There is also possibility of suffering from sea sickness. There are other hazards such as the wash from large ships, seaweed, rubbish and of course the dreaded jellyfish to contend with too.

Before the swim day, try doing several 2-hour swims including ‘double dipping’.

Swim for at least an hour, get out of the water for a couple of hours and then just as you have warmed up get back into the sea to complete another hour swim. This is how your swim will be on the day so practicing getting in and out of the sea with long gaps between is good endurance training for the day.

If you can, try joining other swim training groups.

We can always help put you in touch with swimmers/groups in your area. Training with other swimmers will give you chance, meet other swimmers and gain lots of tips and motivation.

We will arrange practice swims in May to practise swimming alongside a boat prior to your swim.

If you have never swam next to a boat, it can feel intimidating once you are in the water, especially if the sea is choppy and lifting you or the boat out of the water. It will also give you a chance to practise changing swimmers and climbing back on to a rocking boat. The change overs will need to be quick as possible, or the tide will push you off course costing you vital time. During change over there is to be no contact between swimmers so no ‘high 5’ as you enter or leave the water.

A night swim practise is also advisable.

It’s highly likely that at some point you will swim in the dark either at the start or finish of your swim. Swimming in the dark is a totally different experience especially if the sea is choppy as you will be unable to see the waves coming towards you.

What happens on the day of my swim?

Before the start of your swim, our boat pilot will be checking the weather and looking for a slot suitable for us. They will be in regular contact with at least one member of the team. We will need to keep ourselves ready and prepared to go for the duration of your tide.

We may only get 6 hours notification before the start of the swim so will need to keep rested, bag packed and ready to go.

Once we have received the call with the start time, we will meet at Dover marina. We will discuss the meet point and car parking before the day of your swim.

Once we are all on board, the boat pilot will introduce our observer and crew and check we have passports. There will be a safety talk as well as the rules for relay swimming. We will then head to the start point which will either be Shakespeare beach or Samphire Hoe. This is decided on the day depending on conditions, tides, and the swim time.

While we are on route to your start point the first swimmer will get ready and the observer will be taking details and our swim order. We will arrange the swim order beforehand. If a swimmer is unable to get back in for their next swim the swim is aborted. Another swimmer cannot take their place.

What will I need to bring on the day?

Food and Drink

You will need to bring a packed lunch with what you would eat on a normal day with maybe some pasta and plenty of water to drink. Remember though you will need to carry this to the boat along with your kit. Other items to consider are.

  • Peppermint tea and ginger biscuits both help with sea sickness.
  • Flat Coke, this is good to help settle the stomach.
  • Some tinned peach slices these are soothing and easy to swallow when your tongue is swollen from the salty water.
  • Bottled water
  • A packet of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol is also good to bring along with sea sickness pills.


It will be good to wear your swimming costume under your clothes which will make changing on the boat easier and quicker. It‘s best to wear layers such as loose fleecy jumpers, jogging bottoms, t shirt, sweatshirt, thermal socks and easy to put on boots/trainers. Loose fitting clothes will be easier to put on when you are cold and damp.

Items for your kit bag:

  • Woolly hat
  • Large towels (2 or 3)
  • Vaseline
  • Goggles
  • Swim hat plus spare
  • Night lights for swimming in the dark
  • Waterproofs
  • Sleeping bag or fleece to keep you warm
  • High factor sun lotion
  • A waterproof kit bag
  • Dry robe or large coat

Just remember you will need to carry your kit bag on and off the boat. There could be a long walk from your car, and you may be feeling very tired on your return to Dover.

Want to get involved or chat about the challenge further?

Fill in the form and we’ll be in touch, or contact our organiser and CEO Jared on or by text, call or WhatsApp on 07877 447341