THE OTLEY Lido campaign has been given a huge boost with a pledge of £10,000 from Sport England.

The money takes the appeal more than halfway towards its target - but campaigners are stressing they still need to raise the rest of the £53,000 total before the beginning of November.

The Friends of Otley Lido (FoOL) have just received the £10,000 pledge towards the campaign to restore the outdoor pool in Wharfemeadows Park. They also have a pledge of £5,000 from Otley Town Council and have raised £15,000 through their crowdfunder.

Sarah Langli, from the Friends of Otley Lido Committee, said: "We are absolutely delighted - and so grateful to Sport England – to receive this pledge which recognises the value of our project to our community. We have all been working so hard behind the scenes to engage with our larger potential funding bodies - such as Sport England - and today this has paid off. We are delighted beyond words, and I shed a tear when I heard the news."

The Friends of Otley Lido launched the £53,000 campaign three weeks ago with an ‘all or nothing approach’ - which means if they don't raise the funds by the end of the campaign on the November 1 any pledges they have received will not be realised.

Leonie Sharp, Chair of the Friends of Otley Lido, said: “We are so grateful for Sport England recognising our project and acknowledging we can deliver their aims to improve health and well-being in our town and beyond. Their involvement recognises that our Lido will be a huge benefit not just to our town but for the surrounding areas too.

“However, whilst optimistic this is a nervous time for us because we have to raise the remainder of our target before the 1st November 2021, We have launched our new ‘Fill The Pool’ thermometer to demonstrate how this is achievable and are working tirelessly behind the scenes to top up the support from our local community, who have been so willing to help us. We continue as a committee to engage with potential funders to help us achieve our aims but we only have a little over two weeks remaining. We are optimistic of reaching our target given the support we have received throughout our campaign."

The group's Treasurer Ian Lawson said: “We are midway through our funding campaign and we must realise our aims. We know how much our community - near and far - want our lido restored but we need to be clear that unless we fund these essential studies, we cannot move the project forward. It has been a tough call for us to say to our community it is ‘All or Nothing’ but we also say, ‘If not now, then when?’

“Now is the time to bring our project to fruition given the importance of healthy and active lifestyles, providing a local hub for our community, improving the town’s economy through tourism, boosting local employment and well-being, and bringing sustainable facilities to level up our town."

“Once we have this stage completed, we can then go to the larger funding bodies to seek the funds we need to build our Lido – for our community and by our community."

The Friends of Otley Lido have gained the support of many local businesses which are pledging vouchers and services to be posted on the crowdfunding site.

They have also secured the backing of sporting hero Alistair Brownlee, who will make a personal appearance at the site to promote the campaign.

The group says it is determined to restore the outdoor pool for the local community - and that whilst its plans are ambitious, they are achievable.

Visit to pledge to the campaign.

The Otley outdoor pool opened in 1924 and closed in 1993 but has been left derelict since. Leeds City Council sought expressions of interest on the site in 2015 and Friends of Otley Lido formed with the aims of restoring it as an outdoor pool or lido for the local community. The Friends launched a campaign to raise the funds they need to pay for all the specialist studies required to take their project through to the planning phase. The specialist studies will cost £65,000. The group had already raised £12,000 when it launched its £53,000 crowdfunding campaign.