In a year that will see three major lido projects come to fruition, the ‘lido revolution’ has gained fresh momentum, with The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarding £99,800 to the Future Lidos Group for a major project, ‘Pooling Resources’.
In 2023, Britain’s oldest surviving outdoor pool, Bath’s Cleveland Pools, will reopen fully following a major refurbishment. This year will also see the opening of Sea Lanes, a new 50m pool on Brighton’s seafront, and the return of outdoor swimming to Hull’s Albert Avenue Baths.
All three are members of the Future Lidos Group (FLG) – an informal network of community-led projects and campaigns around the UK and Ireland, dedicated to reviving outdoor pool swimming in their communities. The group has been meeting virtually since early 2021 to share progress, knowledge and mutual support.
Now, thanks to the Heritage Fund and to National Lottery players, the FLG is embarking on its first major collaborative project. Pooling Resources will create a digital Lido Toolkit, raise awareness of the unique role lidos play in community wellbeing, and strengthen the wider network of outdoor pools. The ultimate goal is to benefit communities across the UK and Ireland who will reap the social and economic rewards of having a pool of their own.
This project will help more lido projects to follow in the footsteps of Cleveland, Sea Lanes, Hull, and other major Heritage Fund-supported lido revivals such as the Jubilee Pool, Penzance and South London’s Brockwell Lido.
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:-
“The UK is home to an amazing collection of lidos. Many had fallen into disrepair, but a renewed love of these special places and the blissful joy of swimming outdoors has created a lido renaissance right across the country. At the Heritage Fund we are delighted we have supported that renaissance by providing more than £13 million towards restoring and celebrating lidos such Saltdean Lido in Brighton and Cleveland Pools in Bath. Lidos are true public and community spaces, providing health, wellbeing and happiness to those who use them. Our support to the Future Lidos Group for their ‘Pooling Resources’ project will help others build capacity and understanding of lidos so that these can be enjoyed by communities for years to come.”
Project Director Deborah Aydon, Founder of The People’s Pool, said: –
“This investment underlines the importance of our living lido heritage as a uniquely joyous route to community health, well-being, inclusion and social mobility. We are deeply grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and to National Lottery Players for this opportunity.”
FLG originator Michael Wood, Assistant Professor at Northumbria University and Tynemouth Pool campaigner, said: –
“This group first came together during Covid to create a space to collaborate and share experiences, research and best practice. It was apparent from the start and as the group grew quickly to almost 40 schemes that the energy and talent existed across the country to make the much heralded lido revolution a reality. This award will help towards reinstating the inclusive, fun lido facilities that a diverse range of people in communities across the country evidently want, so they can get out and be active. Whatever the weather!”
Image credit: Cleveland Pools, Bath