Photo: Sailing at The Ahoy Centre
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.
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.”
Sailing clubs and centres receiving grants were:
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.
Cambria Sea Scouts, working in Greenhithe and Dartford, will receive a grant of £3,105, to be able to offer six powerboat courses, ten VHF radio courses, and 12 First Aid courses. They also intend to offer sailing sessions for the wider community at a low cost.
Erith Yacht Club will receive a grant of £5,000 for several initiatives. Volunteers will be sponsored to achieve RYA Senior and Dinghy Instructor qualifications, the club will purchase a Drascombe Lugger and be better-equipped to provide sessions for people with disabilities, and it will continue to work closely with their local activity centre, Danson Park Adventures, so that young people taking part in sport on the lake can progress their skills and enjoy the Thames.
Building on the success of last year’s project, which also received funding from Active Thames, Gravesend Sailing Club needs a new safety boat to support club and community sessions. A grant of over £3,000 will enhance the safety provision at the club and to do more to work with local groups, such as the Sea Cadets.
Margate Yacht Club is in need of a new engine for their safety boat, so that they can confidently provide a reliable and safe environment for people to learn and participate in dinghy sailing, canoeing and paddleboarding. £5,000 will provide most of the funding needed to purchase a new engine at the club.
A grant of £6,000 will support two projects at the Sea-Change Sailing Trust. The trust will provide a sailing residential for people with disabilities aboard the engineless traditional Thames barge the Blue Mermaid, targeting community groups in Kent and Essex. The funding will also enable them to train up 6 new recruits, helping to secure the future of Thames sailing barges.
Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre has a strong reputation for developing the young people they work with into water sports coaches. A grant of over £4,000 will support Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre’s adventure coach training scheme, supporting young people to become qualified as outdoor activity instructors.
Strong applications that build on last year’s grants to Sport Works and Herne Bay Sailing Club have also been put forward for Sport England funding, and a further £1500 will be provided to the sailing community.
To find out more about the PLA’s partnership programme and read about all the grant recipients please visit Active Thames.