Thames21 launches two grant schemes to support river restoration and citizen science as part of its EMPOWER Rivers programme

Volunteers, community groups, charities and local authorities in Greater London are being invited to apply for environmental grants through Thames21’s EMPOWER Rivers programme.

The grants, from the environmental charity, will support citizen science, river restoration and wetland creation schemes, helping to improve London’s rivers and provide opportunities for people to connect with them.

The EMPOWER Rivers Large Grant will award four grants of £100,000 each over the next four years (2024 to 2027) to fund four large river restoration or wetland creation projects.

The EMPOWER Rivers Community Grant will provide grants of up to £20K to support small-scale river restoration projects led by small charities and community groups, and enable citizen scientists to gather crucial data to inform action on river pollution. Thames21 has a total of £290,000 for this grant scheme, to be awarded over the next five years.

River restoration is the process of managing rivers to reinstate natural processes to restore biodiversity, providing benefits to both people and wildlife. Thames21 will support projects that re-connect rivers to their floodplains that bring hidden rivers back to the surface, that allow straightened rivers to meander again and that create new wetlands to remove harmful pollutants and create thriving habitats.

Successful applicants must demonstrate how they plan to maximise the social benefits of their projects and how they plan to involve communities at all stages: from design to implementation and beyond.

Sam Bentley-Toon, Thames21’s EMPOWER Rivers Programme Manager, said: “Our EMPOWER Rivers grant schemes provide a fantastic way for communities, charities and local authorities to help protect and improve London’s rivers. We will support schemes that have demonstrable benefits for river ecosystems, especially in light of the climate emergency, as well as tangible benefits for the communities that surround them.

“I’m excited to see all the inventive and varied projects that I’m sure people will put-forward.”

These grant schemes are part of Thames21’s EMPOWER Rivers programme which will enable local people to advocate for improvements to their local rivers and capture evidence that will help drive these improvements. Thames21 will run an extensive training programme enabling volunteers to access knowledge and specialist skills so that they can monitor and improve river health and undertake small-scale river restorations. EMPOWER Rivers is made possible by the generous support of the Lund Trust who have donated £1.75m over five years.

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