Commonwealth Games medallist Ben O'Dea of Tauranga is taking a cold plunge every day to help keep children warm over winter.

He aims to use the icy dips - 76 in total - to raise funds to buy thermal clothing and shoes for children whose families are struggling to make ends meet. So far, he has two swims under his belt. The challenge will last until the end of winter.

"I know we have a pretty awesome community who will want to get behind it."

O'Dea came up with the idea after seeing children walking to school on cold winter mornings without shoes or jackets.


"A lot of these kids don't have a choice ... I know there are a lot of families who can't afford clothes."

The 26-year-old is used to long days on the beach in the sun as part of his volleyball career but uses cold swims as part of his training routine to improve his breathing. He decided to take it a step further for charity.

He hopes the clothing will remove the embarrassment some children might feel arriving at school shoeless and without jackets.

The clothing will be "something that they are proud to be wearing and feel like they are wearing something cool".

The timing of his daily dip would depend on his busy schedule, but he planned to go most mornings.

"It is a pretty good wake-up call."

O'Dea was working alongside Tauranga Youth Development Team which worked in partnership with a network of agencies to strengthen the youth sector.

Tauranga Youth Development Team general manager Becks Clarke said every child should have warm clothes.


"For us in Tauranga it is just three months of the year that we need to wrap up warm, but it is also when our health and social agencies are struggling," she said.

"Sometimes it is the most unlikely people who need help."

Tauranga business Enspire Consulting Ltd and V8 Trikes Tours NZ were also supporting the fundraiser.

O'Dea was encouraging people who were also up for braving the cold to post a photo of their winter swim on social media with the hashtag #coldnoseforwarmclothes

To donate, search A Cold Nose for Warm Clothes on