Active Thames awards £39,000 of grants to rowing programmes across London and Kent

The funding goes to 23 projects in London, Kent and Essex aiming to expand access to ‘blue spaces’ and support ambitious communities


Active Thames has awarded £4,000 to a rowing programme – to be delivered at Barn Elms Boathouse and managed by Enable Leisure – to support a fitness scheme for adults with long term health conditions. This will give participants the opportunity to learn a new skill, get active outdoors, and connect with others in a positive environment.

Enable’s Rowing Coaching and Development Officer, Charlotte Lennox, said “We are really excited to have received this grant to support us offering rowing programmes to adults with long term health conditions in our community. Blue spaces have been found to be of great benefit to health and we are looking forward to incorporating that with the sport of rowing. Our rowing team will be working alongside our dedicated Health and Wellbeing team to reach adults that would benefit from spending time on the river.”

Brentford Community Boathouse has been provided with six bursaries so that young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds can participate in rowing all year round.

Fulham Reach Boat Club were also awarded funding to strengthen and extend their work with schools in Hammersmith and Fulham and beyond. Their £10,000 grant will support access to rowing on the Thames for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, including young people with disabilities, learning conditions and challenging behaviours.

In Kent, London Youth Rowing has been awarded £20,000 to support the roll out of its 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 plans to work with 10 schools over the next calendar year, introducing hundreds of children to the River Thames.

About Active Thames

Led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), Active Thames is a partnership programme promoting physical activity on the tidal Thames and nearby inland waterways. The £4,000 grant that Barn Elms Boathouse has won is part of the 2023/24 fund of £150,000, awarded to 23 successful projects this year, and the total of £390,000 of Active Thames funding across 50 community clubs to date.

Like the 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 Active Thames funding is directed towards projects engaging people who are less likely to be active, including people with disabilities.

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.”