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Small sailboats on the Thames near QEII bridge

About Active Thames

A partnership to help people experience blue space

Active Thames is a partnership programme in place to support the development of watersports on the tidal Thames and inland waterways in London, Kent and Essex.

Active Essex, Active Kent & Medway, London Sport, British Rowing, Paddle UK, RYA, Canal & River Trust, Thames Path National Trail and the Port of London Authority are working together to better serve the watersports community.

Shared objectives include increasing the watersports offer, supporting the growth and development of the workforce, and maximising the use of clubhouses and the Thames path.

Designed to support physical activity on the water in London, Kent and Essex, this website is for participants, activity providers, coaches and enthusiasts. It is brought to you by the Port of London Authority, the trust port that reinvests in the river and maintains safety of navigation along 95 miles of river; from Teddington to the North Sea.

The programme is led by Jenny Cooper-Low, Sports Manager. Contact her at [email protected].

Active Thames partners collage

Impact Report 2022

This report outlines the progress made between 2021 and 2022, with an emphasis on the grants awarded to community clubs who then went on to deliver hundreds of watersports sessions in 2022.

Read more
Active Thames Impact Report 2022

Active Thames Consultation

In 2016 the PLA launched the Thames Vision, the development framework for the tidal Thames. Sport is a key component of the Thames Vision and an early study estimated that around 19,000 people are active on the river each year, with the potential for clubs to increase their capacity by over 40%.

In 2021 London Sport conducted a survey targeted at anyone who enjoys or organises sport on the tideway or inland waterways in London, Kent and Essex. People were asked about their background, what they think about the potential for blue spaces, and what they consider to be barriers to getting active.

As a result of the survey findings we have provided this website and increased funding for the Active Thames programme.

Destination Thames

Thames Vision illustration of kayakers

Active Thames is a key part of the PLA's Thames Vision 2050 goal of encouraging the use of blue space for physical activity.

The Thames is an iconic draw for people from near and far.

  • Tourists are drawn to the river’s banks from all over the world, while local people take to the Thames for sport and recreation from Teddington to the North Sea.
  • For many residents in the south east it is the paramount place to live, enjoy and get active.
  • Vibrant, river-connected communities are a key part of the river’s future, with new settlements emerging, particularly in East London and the wider Thames Estuary.

Active Thames Fund

The Active Thames Grant Fund is provided in response to findings from the PLA’s Active Thames survey.

The programme provides grants to organisations who submit projects that link to at least one of the objectives below:

  • Improve diversity of participation, particularly among under-represented groups including:
  • People with disabilities;
  • People with long term health conditions;
  • People from lower socio-economic groups;
  • Ethnically diverse communities.
  • Develop the workforce (coaches, volunteers and administrative support);
  • Provide new opportunities; perhaps funding the addition of a new sport, working with new audiences, or supporting a pilot programme.
The Active Thames website is run and administered by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and has been designed to provide support to members of the public who are interested in watersports and physical activity. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to ensure that information provided on our website is accurate and up to date, we make no representations or guarantees, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy of the content. Therefore, users should ensure that they make their own enquiries of the information provided including coaches, their qualifications (and whether the same are up to date) and contact details as listed on the Active Thames website. The information and links provided by Active Thames are for convenience only. Listing of coaches and links provided on our website may lead to external sites and any information or statements on these sites are not sponsored or endorsed by the PLA. The PLA cannot be held liable for the availability (or lack thereof) of individuals listed on or content located within any external websites.
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