The Thames Connections Project was launched in early November 2020 and aims to inspire underrepresented communities from six London boroughs to engage more with their local rivers. In October 2022, Thames21 announced the continuation of funding for the project for the next three years.
The next phase of the programme will involve the continuation of establishing key partnerships with community led organisations and multiple stakeholders across the target London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich and Wandsworth – some of the most diverse boroughs in London.
By co-designing an exciting programme of river-based activities, the Thames Connections Project has begun identifying and breaking down barriers which prevent ethnically diverse and low-income communities from participating in Thames21’s activities.
The new phase of the programme will focus on the following themes:
1) Improving local environment; e.g. river clean ups, educational workshops etc.
2) Cultural events/celebrations; e.g. working with faith groups to celebrate/value the river during festive periods such as Eid, Diwali etc.
3) Improving wellbeing; we know the positive effects being near green/blue spaces has on people and after piloting events such as guided walks, mudlarking and art workshops, we have seen a rising demand for such activities to continue.
Thames21 always has volunteers at its heart. During the summer of 2021, the project successfully delivered six outdoor events involving 110 participants in total, following a difficult period of Covid lockdown. These events not only began a series of multiple engaging initiatives with new partners and communities to increase participation. They also helped improve the mental wellbeing of participants who were given the opportunity to explore nature on their own doorsteps in a new and engaging way. As well as contributing towards improving their local environment and creating a sense of connection and long-term stewardship of the River Thames.
Rohul Miah, Tower Hamlets resident and Resident Engagement Officer of One Housing supported the project and helped co-design an outreach event and river clean up on the Isle of Dogs. After participating in both events, he said: “It felt amazing and seeing the full bags gave me a great sense of achievement, especially the amount of litter collected in such a short amount of time. It also made me feel more connected with the river in a new way.”
If you would like to find out more about the Thames Connections Project, please contact our Thames Connections Project Coordinator, Dilawar, via email: Dilawar.email@example.com or phone 07557 970 812.