What is the Rotary MK Swimathon?

  • It’s an annual fun day that’s raised over half a million pounds for local charities since 1994.
  • Each year, between 7 and 9 local charities are identified to benefit from the Swimathon.
  • 24 February 2023 will be Rotary MK’s 30th Swimathon.
  • It’s free to enter and held at Wolverton Pool.
  • 50+ teams of six swim on a relay basis for 55 minutes in a 25-metre pool.
  • No special swimming ability is needed.
  • Children of any age are welcome but must have parental permission.
  • A smaller event for swimmers needing assistance is organised by the Newport Pagnell Assisted Swim Club, which will be held at Middleton Pool on 9 March 2023. This also raises money for the chosen charities.

The 2024 Charities


We are a community of more than 70 adults with learning disabilities and autism, based predominantly in Willen Park and Pennyland. They engage in meaningful activities through our on-site theatre, bakery, weavery, pottery, vegetarian café and other workshops. With high demand for supported independent living for more people, Camphill MK has started a multi-million-pound building programme to expand our accommodation. The Swimathon funds will support a new accessible house for 6 people at Willen Park called The Lantern, which will break ground in spring 2024.

MK Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice Milton Keynes is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and has helped over 450,000 people to solve 2½ million problems since it was founded in 1972. This year, it is taking part in the Swimathon to raise funds to cover the costs of a sessional worker who will provide advice and guidance to Milton Keynes people with sensory loss. This project will be able to support hundreds of local people who are hearing or sight impaired, to find a way forward with complex and serious financial, legal and personal problems.

Henry Allen Trust 

The Trust was founded in memory of Henry Allen, who lost his battle with cancer in October 2013. We aim to bring happiness to children, teens, young adults and their families battling childhood cancers. We seek to improve their health and wellbeing by providing access to a wellbeing counsellor, a pet therapy dog, monthly support meetings, arts and crafts supplies, and care packs. The funds raised from the Swimathon will enable us to reach more children and families in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area who need support.

Milton Keynes Safety Centre (Hazard Alley)

The Safety Centre is the region’s leading safety education charity. Hazard Alley, our education centre in Kiln Farm, provides life-saving safety education to thousands of children, young people and adults every year. Money raised during the 2024 Swimathon will help to refurbish and modernise our “Online Safety” scenario, which is much in need of an upgrade, to ensure everyone stays safe when online, reducing the risk of bullying, grooming and exploitation.

Milton Keynes Scouts

Milton Keynes Scouting District is in Buckinghamshire and includes 23 groups, 4 explorer units and an active Network section. Our aim is to provide fun and challenging and adventurous activities, and develop skills including teamwork, leadership, planning, communication, self-motivation, cultural awareness and commitment. The money raised from the Swimathon will be used to update The Lodge, which can sleep 20 as well as host indoor activities at our dedicated campsite – The Quarries – at Cosgrove. It has been hosting local, national and international visitors for nearly 100 years. 

Rotary Borrowdale Brooke, Zimbabwe

Rotary MK is collaborating with Rotary Borrowdale Brooke in fund-raising to instal solar power generation in two clinics in Zimbabwe. Many Zimbabwe hospitals experience power cuts for as long as 12 hours which can seriously affect services such as maternity wards and create health hazards for patients. Rotary International awards substantial grants to Rotary clubs which work together on such projects. The Zimbabwe community in MK aims to raise, in the Swimathon, the funds needed for the two clubs to trigger a Rotary International grant. 


SOFEA provides education, training and wellbeing services for 160 disadvantaged young people in Milton Keynes, most of whom fell out of formal education. We also distribute 480 tonnes of surplus food each year through our FareShare operations to 54 local community partners (hostels, shelters, care homes and schools) and 11 community larders. Funds raised via the Swimathon will contribute directly to the cost of vans and drivers to move more high quality food from our Bletchley warehouse to local vulnerable people and communities.

Ukraine Appeal

This charity was created recently to help Ukrainian refugees to settle in Milton Keynes and to enable them to enrich the communities where they live with new experiences of a different type of heritage. New residents want to learn about the UK but also to continue to educate their children about the Ukraine, so that their heritage is conserved and protected. The funds raised from the Swimathon will be used to support the “Sunflower School” project, the first Ukrainian Supplementary School in Milton Keynes.

Willen Hospice

Willen Hospice is a much respected and vital local hospice that provides specialist care for people whose illness no longer responds to curative treatment. The money raised from the Rotary Swimathon will be used to pay for the petrol costs for our Willen at Home team who make over 3,700 visits per year supporting our patients in their own homes.

Raising the money

Each swimmer collects sponsorship from family, friends, work colleagues, corporate donations, etc. by:

  • Online sponsorship via Just Giving, which claims 25% Gift Aid automatically for us on all eligible donations, and/or
  • Using Rotary MK’s sponsorship form and bringing the money to the event or paying it into Rotary MK’s Swimathon bank account. The Club claims Gift Aid from HMRC.

Using Just Giving

Go to: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/mkswimathon2024.

Making a donation?

  • Click on the blue ‘Give now’ button.
  • If you are already a Just Giving user, log in. If you are not, sign up.

Please make sure that you mention which team  and/or individual swimmer you are sponsoring. Then, when MK Rotary Club collects the information from Just Giving’s report, we will be able to calculate how much each team has raised. Without that information, we won’t be able to credit your team.

Swimming as a team or individual swimmer?

You can set up your own page with a unique link. This will save you from collecting in the money yourself, give you the opportunity to reach out on social media, and ensure the donations come straight to us in the name of your team. They will automatically be credited to your team’s total sponsorship.

  • Click on the orange ‘Start fundraising’ button.
  • If you have not used Just Giving before you need to register. If you have not, you’ll have to log in.
  • Answer NO to ‘Are you fundraising in memory of someone?’
  • Click ‘I’m taking part in an event’.
  • Key in ‘Rotary MK Swimathon 2024’.
  • Set your target.
  • Personalise your page with your team’s name and details.
  • Add your own picture or contact info@rotarymk.org for the Rotary MK Swimathon 2024 official logo.
  • Launch your page and try it out.

Good luck!

Sponsorship form

You can print off as many copies as you wish of the sponsorship form below. Each swimmer should use a separate form (or more than one form, numbering the sheets in the top right corner). It’s important to fill in the team name and the swimmer’s name and number. Please make sure that every sponsor who pays income tax fills in their house number and post code and circles “Yes” under “Eligible for gift aid”. Without this information, we cannot claim gift aid, which adds 20% to a donation.

Guidance for team captains and swimmers

  • The 2024 Rotary Swimathon will be held on Saturday, 24 February at Wolverton Swimming and Fitness Centre, Addington Avenue, Wolverton, MK12 5GH.
  • Each swimmer should be able to swim 50 metres. The length of the pool is 25 metres and although most swimmers only swim one length at a time, the water gets quite choppy.
  • Please arrive at the pool 20 minutes before your swim time. Meet together in the foyer and if you are using sponsorship forms hand them over to your team captain.
  • Team captains register their teams at the Swimathon reception desk and hand in all sponsorship forms. If any swimmer has a medical condition that needs reporting (e.g. epilepsy) please inform the receptionist.
  • Team captains will be issued with a lane card which is handed to the pool manager at the pool entrance.
  • Only swimmers and designated helpers can enter the pool area unless a child under 8 is swimming, in which case a parent/carer needs to accompany them in the pool. Spectators – including non-swimming team captains – please use the spectator area.
  • When using the changing rooms, Wolverton pool recommend that you leave valuable belongings in the lockers provided. A £1 coin is required to operate the locker (refundable when the locker is emptied). A wristband with key is then released. Non-valuable clothing in a suitable bag can be brought to the poolside.
  • After changing, all swimmers should assemble poolside and report to the pool manager’s desk. The team captain gives the lane card to the pool manager and decides at which end swimmers should stand and who swims first. The lanes will be clearly identified.
  • In the interest of safety, all swimmers and spectators are asked to follow the Wolverton pool staff’s instructions. The pool manager and Swimathon stewards are also responsible for activities in the pool area and we ask that you please follow their instructions also.
  • Refreshments are available adjacent to the spectator areas. It is not recommended to drink alcohol or take any drugs before swimming.
  • A quick changeover is essential. Please help by leaving the pool area promptly after your swim, taking all your possessions with you.
  • After the swim, team captains should collect a pack from the reception desk, which will contain swimmers’ returned sponsorship forms and certificates endorsing the numbers of lanes swum.

Rotary Club of Milton Keynes’ Commitment

  • No Rotarian receives any payment for their involvement in the Swimathon.
  • No more than 5% of the sponsorship total is used to cover the major costs to run the Swimathon, such as trophies, certificates, medals and stationery.
  • About 10% of the sponsorship total is transferred to Rotary MK’s charity fund to be used throughout the year to provide many small donations to local charities.
  • About 85% is divided between the Milton Keynes charities selected for the year as listed on the sponsorship form. The size of the allocation to each charity is based upon the:            
    • Total sponsorship available                                                     
    • Sponsorship raised by the charity                                                        
    • Number of sponsored swimmers entered by the charity            
    • Amount required for the project the charity wishes to undertake           
    • Amount of additional support the charity provides on Swimathon day (e.g. lane clicking).

A charity will always receive in excess of the total sponsorship raised by their own teams.