AN "all or nothing" fundraising campaign has been launched by The Friends of Otley Lido to get their ambitious plans off the ground.

The six-week crowdfunding campaign aims to raise the funds they need to procure the specialist studies to move the Otley Lido project forward to the planning phase.

The group is asking the public to support its £53,000 appeal - and is warning that it will miss a "historic opportunity" if it fails to reach its target.

The group erected its new ‘Fill The Pool’ Thermometer to launch its crowdfunding campaign on Saturday.

The launch was backed in person by Baroness (Judith) Blake of Leeds, who is Shadow Spokesperson for Housing, Communities, and Local Government in the House of Lords. Also at the launch to give their backing were Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel, and Cllr Richard Hughes, of Otley Town Council. The Friends of Otley Lido have also secured the backing of Leeds City Council Leader Cllr James Lewis.

The community volunteer group aims to re-develop the derelict Otley baths into a modern all year-round leisure venue featuring a 25-30 meter heated lido with a retractable roof. Alongside the outdoor pool their concept includes a gym, cafe / restaurant, health and well-being facilities including a new home for the town’s bowls club, and public toilets for visitors to Wharfemeadows Park.

Leonie Sharp, Chair of the FoOLs committee said: “We have been working tirelessly on this project for a number of years and are still ever determined and committed to redevelop our beloved Lido into a new all year-round leisure facility. This would be a fantastic benefit to the community residents, young and old and of all abilities promoting year-round health and well-being for their benefit.

“This last 20 months have demonstrated the need for healthier and more active lifestyles. We know also that our town has expanded with many more households coming to live in Otley in Yorkshire who need more facilities to make our town even more special than it already is.”

The Friends have launched a crowdfunding campaign at and are urging the community to get behind it. They say is an all or nothing campaign that will only take the funds if they reach their target of £53,000.

Leonie said: “We decided to go for the ‘all or nothing’ approach because we must raise these funds to move the project forward. Sadly, if we fail to reach the target, we can't see how we can continue with the lido project and will miss this historic opportunity.”

“People don’t ask us if it is going to happen, but when. We must fund these essential studies to take our project to planning at Leeds City Council, to demonstrate the sustainability, how we can manage the environmental impact, show that we have financial business viability, minimise the impact on the traffic in the area, protect the ecological environment on the site and surrounding areas and manage the flood risk which is necessary because we back onto one of the fastest rising rivers in the country.

“Once we have this phase funded, we can progress to planning and then following approval we can approach the larger funding bodies such as Lottery Funding and Sports England and government funding grants.”

Leonie said: “We meet regularly with the National Lido community and know we can achieve this but must have the community support to move this forward. We are asking all our supporters, near and far to help us Make a Big Splash.”

Baroness Blake said: “I applaud the work of Friends of Otley Lido. As shadow spokesperson for Housing, Communities and Local Government in the House of Lords I know our communities need health and well-being facilities like those planned by the Friends. As an Otley resident I know how important this would be to all age groups in our town.”

Mr Sobel said: “As Shadow Tourism Minister I’ve been round the country and see the boost to both local communities and the economy a Lido has brought with visitors flocking for outdoor swimming. We need a facility like this here to provide a leisure amenity for local people and attract new visitors to Otley.”

Cllr James Lewis added:“Leeds City Council recognises the importance of physical activity for our residents and visitors to Leeds, especially as an integral element of our planned recovery from Covid. Swimming and water-based activity is a critical element of this and in particular offers significant benefits across the ages so we are pleased to be able to add our support to the communities’ efforts to bring this much valued local facility back into use. As part of this commitment the Council continues to be willing to consider how best to support the community bringing the facility back into use subject to the necessary external funding being found.”

Cllr Richard Hughes said:“Otley riverside with its boats, park, walks and children’s play area is rightly prized by the town and those around. Bringing back the Lido would be a wonderful addition to the amenities. I welcome the Friends of Otley Lido’s campaign and wish them all the best with it”

FoOLs have been working hard on restoring the former outdoor swimming pool since 2015, when it was announced that the site was being sold by Leeds City Council. The former swimming pool closed in 1993 after being a landmark in the town since 1924.