Thames pathActive Thames, a partnership programme led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), has awarded a grant of £4,160 to Age UK Kent Rivers to set up two walking groups along the Thames Path. One supporting adults with learning disabilities and their support workers, and another open to all ages and support staff.

The Active Thames fund, supported by Active Kent & Medway, Active Essex, London Sport, British Canoeing, British Rowing, RYA, Canal & River Trust and Thames Path National Trail, encourages physical activity on and alongside the tidal Thames and inland waterways, and is part of a total of £150,000 in grants to 23 projects across London, Kent and Essex. This brings the total to £390,000 of Active Thames funding across 50 community clubs in the last three years.

Liz Davidson, Partnership Director at Active Kent & Medway, said:

“Active Kent & Medway is delighted to have worked with the Port of London Authority for the past three years through the Active Thames programme and we continue to share their ambition to make watersports and blue spaces more inclusive and diverse. Numerous projects have benefited from the Active Thames funding, from sea swimming sessions in Whitstable to Pilot Gig Rowing in Gravesend – opportunities that so many of our communities previously would not have seen as accessible to them. Developing a new generation of coaches and instructors to support sustainability has also been a vital and much welcomed element of Active Thames.”

Like our better-known green spaces, the 95 miles of ‘blue’ space offered by the tidal Thames can be a place for sport and relaxation, benefitting people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Active Thames helps communities make the most of this blue space, opening the river to a more diverse range of river users. Most of the funding is directed towards projects engaging people who are less likely to be active, including people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

PLA Sports Manager, Jenny Cooper-Low, said:

“We’re really excited to support so many ambitious community projects this year, creating a more inclusive and accessible Thames, which is a core commitment of our Thames Vision 2050 strategy. On a day famous for the ‘January blues’, I’d encourage people to check out their local community club and enjoy the all-round physical, social and mental health benefits of being active in blue space. Check out our website for inspiration.”

Group of young people on boats on the thamesRecipients of the 2023-24 Active Thames grant in Kent:

To set up two walking groups along the Thames Path (Gravesend), one supporting adults with learning disabilities and their support workers, and another open to all ages with support staff. (£4,160)

To contribute towards the purchase of two new catamarans. The scout group have managed to raise match funding for this project and expect the sailing boats to last for at least 10 years. (£8,300)

To support the roll out the Active Row programme in Kent, working with schools to establish indoor rowing clubs, and then get them out onto the Thames from Gravesend Rowing Club. London Youth Rowing plan to work with ten schools over the next calendar year, introducing hundreds of children to the River Thames. (£20,000)

To benefit the Thames sailing barge community (in Kent and Essex), keeping a key piece of river’s heritage alive, through three projects: a sailing residential for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, training for their current volunteers, and subsidised sail-training weekends for adults interested in learning how to sail traditional barges. (£8,370)

To contribute to the repair of their traditional wooden racing boat to keep rowers on the water in Gravesend this year. (£4,640)

For more information about the Active Thames programme, please contact Carly Miles, our Community Development Officer, at

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