WINCHESTER Lido has made a splash with its crowdfunding campaign.

As previously reported the Winchester Lido Sports Association has been raising funds to restore the building on Worthy Lane.

Now it is celebrating a big fundraising boost. The charity started crowdfunding in December, aiming to raise £4,000. By the time the campaign closed in late January, over £14,000 had been pledged.

Alongside individual donations and gift aid of almost £5,000, the charity will benefit from match-funding grants totalling £8,800 from the city council, Sport England, Sovereign Housing and a local family trust, with Hampshire County Council awarding a further £500 through their councillor grant scheme.

Charity trustee Francis Burgess said: "The response to our fundraising campaign has been fantastic. We're very grateful for the community's support, including from grant-makers and those who offered rewards for the crowdfunder. It's clear that local people still love the Lido building and want to see it restored."

Local reward providers included Rick Stein's restaurant, Winchester City Penguins Swimming Club, Majestic Wine, Alfred’s Brewery, OrangeTheory, Delta Nutrition & Fitness, Winchester Fit Club, and Transform Sports Coaching.

The Lido and its Sports Club were built in 1934. The beautiful outdoor pool was the hub of the city until its demolition in the late 1970s, while the clubhouse was rescued from the same fate by a group of local volunteers. The building has served the community for many years, including as a dance hall, bingo hall and music venue (famously hosting the Rolling Stones in 1963). Now owned and managed by The Winchester Lido Sports Association, it has a sports hall for badminton, fitness classes and other activities, and a matted martial arts facility or "dojo". However, it's been closed three times since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, severely impacting the charity's finances.

The Lido building is in the Hyde conservation area. Its Palladian-style façade is in urgent need of restoration, with rotting timberwork and cracked masonry, and the charity is keen to avoid further damage to the building.

Councillor Anne Weir, Chair of the Winchester Town Forum grants panel which made the city council's match-funding award, said: “I am delighted to see that the crowdfunding campaign, combined with the support of the Town Forum and local residents and businesses, will contribute to work that will enable the Lido to continue to be used as a vital community venue. The funds the Lido has raised through the Town Forum crowdfunding scheme will help to restore and maintain it at a critical time when so many people will be looking for places to re-engage with sport and recover their well-being.”