Active Thames awards funding to 26 organisations

Active Thames, led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), has awarded £150,000 in grants to 26 successful applicants including several offering rowing activities.

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Jenny Cooper (centre), PLA Sports Manager with Active Thames partners from London Youth Rowing and British Rowing

The increase in funding from over £90,000 last year to nearly £150,000 this year demonstrates the continuing commitment Active Thames partners have made to promoting activity on the tidal Thames and inland waterways in London, Kent, and Essex.

Active Thames aims to encourage groups that are less likely to engage in physical activity on the river, including individuals from ethnically diverse communities, lower socio-economic groups, and people with disabilities.

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The recipients of this year’s round of funding cover a wide range of activities, including sailing, paddlesports, rowing and, for the first time this year, walking.

The funding will reach a diverse range of groups along the tidal Thames and inland waterways, from SilverFit, which aims to promote happier, healthier aging through physical activity, to South London Scouts, which works with 14-25 year olds and ensures that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are able to take part in all their activities.

Jenny Cooper, PLA sports manager, said: “Building on the success of last year’s grants, 2023 Active Thames funding will help deliver our Thames Vision: more people using the river for leisure.

“All the successful applicants have demonstrated how they will help us to achieve the goals of Active Thames, which is to make the river more inclusive, diverse and accessible to all.”

Successful grant applicants involved in rowing are:

The AHOY Centre, based in Deptford, will host the East London Instructor Programme, to tackle the shortage of qualified coaches in London, Kent and Essex and strengthen the future of sailing. An investment of £17,400 into the watersports workforce will support young sailors to qualify as instructors. Local clubs can signpost young people to this programme and see them progress into coaching.

A further £2,700 grant will help the centre to change lives through rowing and sailing.

children getting into rowing boat Rowers at Fulham Reach BC

Fulham Reach BC’s state school rowing project will be supported by a £5,000 grant. Young people in Years 9-13 will be given the opportunity to row on the Thames in Hammersmith without any financial barriers. The club will work with schools to ensure the students selected are those who are likely to benefit from rowing the most and, if young people want to continue to row, they will be able to sign up as members.

London Youth Rowing’s Active Row programme has a commitment of £20,000 a year for the next two years, which will be used to expand to work with schools in Gravesend. Schools will be provided with coaching and indoor rowing machines to set up a club, and progress to rowing on the water at Gravesend Rowing Club in the spring and summer.

Lower Thames RC, based at Old Leigh and Two Tree Island in Essex, has established a strong link with mental health charity Trust Links. With a grant of £5,000 and existing club funds, they will purchase a new rowing boat, which will allow them to offer more taster sessions, and continue their work with Trust Links.

Newham Ability Camp is a pan disability sports group running three activity sessions a week. The club founder, Paul Archer, is looking forward to being able to offer people the chance to take part in rowing again this summer with a grant of £400. The club had a very positive experience on the water last year with the support of coaches from London Youth Rowing.

Thames Barbarians is a pilot gig rowing club based in Gravesend. Supported by Active Thames in 2022, this year’s grant of £5,000 will help maintain their momentum in club growth. They will continue to provide open days for people to try out fixed seat rowing and recruit new members, whilst also growing their competitive section.

To find out more about the PLA’s partnership programme, please visit Active Thames.

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