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Active Thames Fund

2022 - 2023

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.

With over 15,000 football pitches worth of blue space, the tidal Thames is a fantastic place to get active. There is also an extensive network of inland waterways, which provide even more space for people to enjoy, and perfect locations to gain the skills and confidence needed to take on the tidal river.  

The following organisations are working together to better serve the community: Active Essex, Active Kent and Medway, London Sport, British Canoeing, British Rowing, RYA, Canal & River Trust, Thames Path National Trail and PLA. You can find a copy of the partnership agreement and shared objectives  located at the bottom of this page. 

Find out more about Active Thames.

Grant Recipient: Phoenix Canoe Club
Grant Recipient Phoenix Canoe Club
Laburnum Boat Club
Grant Recipient Laburnum Boat Club


This year we are also providing funding to support increased use of the Thames Path National Trail. This might involve walking tours for community groups, walk leader training or accessibility improvements. Beneficiaries should be clearly identified in any applications and there must be no financial barriers for them to take part in activities.

About the Fund

The Active Thames Fund will support growth in watersports and use of the Thames Path National Trail. It will enhance access, diversity and inclusion and raise awareness of the benefits of blue space and physical activity.

Applications are open from 19 October to 27 November. As with the funding released in January 2022, this fund links to the recommendations of the Active Thames participation and workforce survey conducted in 2021, which is available here.

Applications should deliver on at least one of the following objectives:

  • 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);

We are particularly keen to welcome applications that will:
• Boost participation east of Tower Bridge through to Kent and Essex
• Support coastal rowing projects
• Develop community activators for paddlesports
• Provide continued provision of activity, beyond this funding cycle.

We welcome grant applications seeking funding up to £5000. Grants over this amount may be possible if the application meets multiple objectives, and if the applicant has a strong background in delivering projects successfully.

Previous beneficiaries of Active Thames grants are welcome to apply again.

Black Girls Hike UK
Grant Recipient Black Girls Hike UK
Herne Bay Sailing Club
Grant Recipient Herne Bay Sailing Club

Eligibility and Monitoring

You will need to complete our online form providing detailed information about how you intend to use the funding and who the intended beneficiaries are. Please note the following:

  1. Beneficiaries and activities provided should be based on or alongside waterways in Greater London, Kent or Essex. This includes docks, basins, reservoirs, canals, lakes and rivers that feed participation into the tidal Thames and its Estuary.
  2. The grant is available for any formally constituted, not-for-profit or statutory organisation providing physical activity opportunities on or beside the water.
  3. Delivery should be underway by the end of March 2023.
  4. Successful applicants are required to work with the grant manager to evidence how the grant has been spent and keep them updated on any issues. A full report will be required when the project has concluded / no later than twelve months after the funding is awarded. Here’s an example monitoring and evaluation form, which last year’s recipients completed.
  5. Applications will be scored against the following criteria:
    1. meeting the needs identified by the recent Active Thames research;
    2. a clear delivery outline;
    3. sustainability- how the investment will be maximised and have continued impact in the long term.
  6. All activities which are open to the public must also be digitally accessible and compliant with Open Active standards. More information about Open Active is available here. If you are not familiar with Open Active, please contact the sports manager to find out more.
  7. You must have safeguarding and equal opportunities policies in place. If you do not have them, Club Matters has suitable templates which you can use. An Active Thames partner may visit your activity and ask for proof of your safeguarding policy and/or equal opportunities policy at any time.
Thames Barbarians Pilot Gig Club
Grant Recipient Thames Barbarians Pilot Gig Club
Tower Hamlets Canoe Club
Grant Recipient Tower Hamlets Canoe Club


The application period closed on 27 November 2022. 

Applications can only be made online and the decision on your application will be made in December.

Your application will be shared with the Active Thames partners who will form the grant review panel: Active Essex, Kent Sport, London Sport, British Canoeing, British Rowing, RYA, Canal & River Trust, Thames Path National Trail and the PLA. Your application may be shared with other potential funders at the discretion of the sports manager. If you object to this, please contact her.

If you require guidance with your application, wish to know more about the Active Thames programme or have any questions please contact Jenny Cooper, sports manager [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What area does Active Thames focus on?

Waterways in Greater London, Kent and Essex. This includes docks, basins, reservoirs, canals, lakes and rivers that feed participation into the tidal Thames and its Estuary. 

2. What won’t this fund? 

We won’t fund retrospective costs, marketing costs, or organisations known to be acting unsafely or harming the environment. Organisations must have policies in place for safeguarding and equal opportunities. 

3. Can I apply as an individual or a friendship group?

We can only give grants to constituted organisations with a bank account. 

4. Can I delay the start of my delivery until the warmer months (spring/summer)? 

Funding will be awarded in December with delivery expected to commence by the end of March 2023. If this is not possible, please make this clear within your application. 

Related Documentation

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