Connecting Communities

People living in towns and cities are increasingly disconnected from the wildlife on their doorsteps. This is not only a shame, but deeply alarming as our global population grows and economies grow with it.

Being out of touch from nature is destructive for our well-being and destructive for the natural world. It is no secret that our rivers are in peril due to intense pressure from a cocktail of plastic, toxic chemicals and sewage.

We believe everyone has a role to play in creating healthy rivers that we can all enjoy. That’s why we provide a wide range of grassroots opportunities to connect with our rivers, enabling people from all walks of life to tackle issues such as plastic pollution and invasive species head-on, as well as help create beautiful new habitats.  

Citizen Science

Those wanting to take action on the huge plastic issue facing our rivers and oceans can become citizen scientists as part of our Thames River Watch project.  Our huge number of Thames River Watch citizen scientists gather key information on the amount and type of plastic and other litter found in the Thames, which is then used to lobby and inform strategies to stop litter entering the river in the first place.

Train to help us engage with volunteers

We also offer people the chance to train as River Ambassadors or Waterway Engagement Volunteers, by transferring the curiosity of passers-by into action to help Thames21 achieve its core mission of putting healthy rivers back at the heart of community life. Our River Ambassadors are advocates, linking people back to their rivers, telling stories about wildlife and history, and spreading the word about the fun and benefits rivers offer.

As an alternative to being a spokesperson to the public about our work, volunteers can also train to help deliver events a a member of our Event Support Team. You could be helping set up events such as removing plastic or invasive species from rivers, or installing vegetation such as reedbeds.

Community engagement through projects

We connect communities with their rivers as part of the many Improving Rivers projects we run. By galvanising the community to take on shared responsibility for their local river, we aim to create a lasting legacy for the rivers above and beyond the immediate physical improvement.

What impact are we having?

Our approach of connecting communities with rivers is working and building a sustainable future for rivers with communities surrounding them that share the responsibility of caring for them. We have 21 fully accredited groups (Badged Groups) across London, each working to protect their local river.

Together with our volunteers, we:

  • remove an average of 200 tonnes of rubbish per year from the Thames alone
  • have highlighted how wet wipes are changing the shape of the Thames riverbed and
  • given people the confidence to make new friends while doing good for the planet.
Stand-up paddle boarders get ready to clear the Thames of litter

Separately to individuals volunteering, if you are a company wishing to book a day out with us on a river, we offer corporate enrichment days. Give your team the ultimate antidote to a fast-paced workplace by booking them onto our Enrichment Days and feed their desire to do good for the planet!