April meeting – Ilkley Community Steps Up to Save the Pool and Lido

Use it or Lose it
The future of Ilkley Pool and Lido is under review as part of the huge cost savings Bradford Council has to make in 2023-4 and onwards. Along with all the swimming pools across Bradford, Ilkley Pool and Lido is being considered for closure. Currently the Pool and Lido operates at a 280K loss. The Ilkley Pool and Lido Community Group has been established to secure the future of the Pool and Lido, by working with Bradford to increase usage and income and reduce costs immediately, and by developing proposals for community ownership if needed.

Over 90 local people joined the group for the second public meeting on Friday, to take action on the ideas generated by Ilkley residents to close the gap on the current deficit, and to secure a facility that is fit for the future.  “It has been amazing, how the community has quickly stepped up to do everything practically possible to save our pool and lido from closure” Becky Malby, founder.

Joanne Bown, one of the founding members says “We are fortunate in Ilkley to have both an indoor and outdoor pool on one site that is accessible on foot and public transport. It is a real asset to the physical and mental wellbeing of the community, and people that visit Ilkley.” The group has been endorsed by Alistair Brownlee who did his first ever triathlon at  Ilkley Pool and Lido. In his video on the group’s website Alistair says how crucial the pool and lido were for him and how vital it is for the health of our community here https://ilkleylidoandpool.co.uk/why-i-care/

The Group has checked the ideas (generated by over 100 Ilkley residents at the first public meeting) with pools and lidos across the country who have already had to take steps to save their pool/ lido, and are progressing the ones that have the best chance of making a difference. The projects include a more profitable and accessible cafe, changing the timetable to make the most of the demand for use from Ilkley residents, reducing the energy bill, adding in classes and events to attract more people, collaborating with the sports clubs across Ilkley to provide more activities, improving the income from merchandise (a massive income in other pools), making better use of the grounds, and developing an active volunteer scheme. The Group is collaborating with all the sports organisations in Ilkley and reaching out to the arts and wider community too.

Becky Malby, founder of the group says “Of course there needs to be longer term plans for solar panels, new changing rooms and so on, but right now we are focussing on closing the funding gap. Alongside this we are getting ready in case we do need to take over the whole facility as a community run organisation.”

The Group will be sending out a survey this month to Ilkley residents to gauge your views, particularly on how/whether you use the pool and lido.

Dr Juliet O’Callaghan from the group says “Rather than viewing a threat of closure in the autumn as a negative, we see this as an opportunity to work alongside the council to secure and develop a community led sports facility that will serve Ilkley and the wider community for years to come.”

Right now, the message from the Ilkley Pool and Lido Community group is  ‘Use it or Lose it’.

Bradford Council will be publishing its review findings in June for consultation and a final decision in September.

You can sign up to contribute to the Ilkley Pool and Lido Community Group on our website https://ilkleylidoandpool.co.uk/

Ilkley Pool and Lido Community Ownership – The proposals

The results of the Ilkley Pool and Lido Community Ownership event on the 5th April

We now have groups working on the following projects. If you can help please let us know.

  1. Cafe – including opening hours, suppliers and pricing, volunteer support, access for non-swimmers
  2. Pool & Lido utilisation – including Timetabling, split sessions, improving changing rooms.
  3. Merchandise and Sales – including massively increasing retail income (possibly drop shipping), charity shop, swap shop, wetsuit and lounger rental.
  4. Classes – including more outdoor classes (fitness, yoga) and Lido classes (paddleboarding, kayaking etc), training personal trainers.
  5. Lido Events – including a regular timetable of events throughout the season and special events in winter including full moon swims, Christmas swim, extending the popular events (dog day), cafe opening alongside
  6. Better use of the grounds – including making the most of the tennis courts, picnic areas, camping opportunities, shipping container for community use.
  7. Partnership with sports clubs – including more sports events, shared membership, shared equipment. Becoming a sports hub.
  8. Community Arts – including using the grounds for events linked to arts festivals
  9. Reducing Waste – including alternative energy sources
  10. Volunteers – including an active thriving volunteer community to ensure flexibility in provision, supporting events, being a place for corporate volunteer days

If you would like to join a group, or can volunteer some time to help us keep the Pool and Lido open, or have resources we can use for any of the above please email.

IMMEDIATELY: We are looking for volunteers now to maintain the flower beds and hanging baskets. If you can help with keeping the Lido blooming please let us know