Three major outdoor swimming projects are due to come to fruition in England in 2023, in what campaigners are calling the "lido revolution".
Britain’s oldest surviving outdoor pool, Bath’s Cleveland Pools, will reopen fully following a major refurbishment; Sea Lanes, a new 50m pool on Brighton seafront, will open and outdoor swimming at Hull’s Albert Avenue Baths will resume.
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.
The group’s work has gathered momentum, thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarding it £99,800 to embark on a major collaboration, Pooling Resources.
The project 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. Its 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.
Deborah Aydon, People’s Pool founder and Pooling Resources project director, said: “This investment underlines the importance of our living lido heritage as a uniquely joyous route to community health, wellbeing, inclusion and social mobility."
FLG originator and Tynemouth Pool campaigner Michael Wood said: “This group first came together during Covid to create a space to collaborate and share experiences, research and best practice.
“This investment underlines the importance of our living lido heritage as a uniquely joyous route to community health, wellbeing, inclusion and social mobility."
"It was apparent from the start - 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!”
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.
"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.”