Ilkley Lido and Pool Community Meeting: A Dive into Collaboration and Innovation

On Friday 2nd February 160 people met at Ilkley Rugby Club to discuss the future of Ilkley Lido and Pool. There was so much interest that we had to run an online meeting a couple of days later!

The focal point of the meeting was to explore the options for ensuring that Ilkley Lido and Pool are kept open for the future benefit of the local and surrounding communities as well as the many people who visit Ilkley as a tourist destination. The vibrant atmosphere was set by a compelling introduction from Becky Malby who set the stage for an evening of community spirit and creativity, followed by an overview of the background to the meeting by Paul Stephens.

The meeting was a dynamic exchange of ideas with small group discussions facilitated by the core Ilkley Lido and Pool team who helped to initiate the programme. This helped participants to engage in brainstorming sessions and explore models for working with Bradford Council to ensure the survival of the pools, as well as transforming the range of activities on offer at them.

Attendees examined the models for partnership with Bradford Council considering how working together could not only preserve the heritage and essence of Ilkley Lido, but also enhance the range of activities and sessions offered at Ilkley Pool, whilst making them economically viable. Simultaneously, participants explored the possibility of a community buy-out scheme in which the community could take ownership of Ilkley Lido and Pool ensuring their long-term sustainability and serving as a model for community-driven initiatives.

There were many innovative ideas around activities that could be offered at the facilities. From the prospect of transforming the Lido into an ice-rink in the winter to the ideas of hosting corporate event and weddings, the meeting was fertile ground for ideas to transform the activities on offer. The discussions also covered adding a gym facility, tapping into the potential for year-round activities. Coupled with winter opening at the Lido this could attract further revenue.

The community meeting was a testament to the power of collective vision and collaboration, with the evening being filled with energy and creativity and many ideas being discussed. A wealth of valuable information was collected via participants notes at the end of the meeting, paving the way for the next steps in this exciting journey. Whether through a partnership with Bradford Council or a community buy-out scheme, Ilkley Lido and Pool is poised for a future driven by the collective passion and ingenuity of the surrounding community. As a result of the meeting, we now have 140 people willing to use their diverse skills including in law, finance, business, campaigning, and IT to help drive the ideas forward and make Ilkley Lido and Pool a resounding success for many years to come.