Leading Action for Healthy Rivers: Thames21’s flagship training course

NCFE logo

Welcome to our ncfe accredited training course

Upcoming Course dates and locations:

You can find the next training session by keeping an eye on our events page.

What you need to know:

Course overview:

Leading Action for Healthy Rivers is much more than picking up litter

Our flagship course gives you everything you need to plan and run safe, effective, enjoyable waterway improvement events as well as champion healthy rivers.

Once you are trained and accredited, you can become one of our valued River Action Groups and will be covered by Thames21 public liability insurance for any events you then run on a waterway. You can also register as a Thames21 Event Support Contractor, a freelance role which is paid London Living Wage.
Hundreds of people around the UK have taken this course:  many of whom have gone on to found their own Thames21 accredited groups. Many River Trusts, as well as companies and environmental groups, have used the training to put on waterway clean-ups during the annual national Great British Spring Clean event.

The course is tailored to the participants and takes a maximum of 15 people at a time.

Course context and content: Read more here


Thames21 is an nationally recognised NCFE Customised Qualification Centre.


This course is run over 2 full days in person which is how it is described in the ‘Course context and Content’ link.


  • Free to individuals who have been volunteering with Thames21 projects or wish to establish their own River Action Group.
  • Thames21 offers places to local authorities and charitable organisations at a special price – contact Edwin Quast for more information
  • Thames21 offers bespoke courses for companies who wish to form their own River Action Groups – contact Edwin Quast for more information

If you are part of a community based group wanting a course tailored to your local site please talk to Edwin Quast and your local Project Officer. If  there is a Thames21 Project Officer connected to your area we will endeavour to help you find suitable funding for the training and River Action Group activities.

What you will learn in this course:

In session 1 –

you will learn about the challenges faced by urban rivers and be able to identify what tasks a group of volunteers can do which will really make a difference.

By the end of session 1 you will be able to list the steps needed to be taken for organising your own event.

In session 2 –

we will look at leadership responsibilities and build confidence by focusing on the health and safety implications of working in and near water.

By the end of session 2 you will be able to select an appropriate site, spot hazards, complete a risk assessment and organise tasks with the correct equipment.

In session 3 and the practical –

you will work with other trainees to discuss the joys and challenges of running volunteering activities and we will also cover promoting your event and how to achieve common goals as a group.

By the end of session 3 you will understand what it takes to support and lead a successful clean-up event.  

The practical will give you an opportunity to undertake a site assessment and deliver part of a welcome/health and safety briefing.

What trainees have said:

Really enjoyable and informative’

‘Friendly, hands-on and varied approach to learning’ 

‘Very practical – lots of demonstration and opportunities to go outside
and use equipment.
This helped us visualise it and bring it to life’