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

Welcome to our ncfe-accredited training course! 

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.

Please note that the course is currently structured as three 2 hour online sessions and one in person ‘mini event’ instead of the normal format of 2 days in person.

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.
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 14 people at a time.

Course context and content: Read more here

Accreditation: Thames21 is an nationally recognised NCFE Customised Qualification Centre 

Duration: Three 2 hour online session, one 2.5 hour in person practical and three short action orientated assignments to complete the accreditation

Fees: Unless otherwise stated the courses listed here are free and fully funded.
The course costs £230 per trainee but Thames21 seeks funding to run this course and support motivated individuals and community groups to form River Action Groups.

If you are part of a community based group wanting a course tailored to your local site please talk to Poppy Flint. They can help you find suitable funding sources and connect you to a Thames21 Project Officer if we have someone working in your area.

Bespoke courses for corporate groups, contractors and local authorities can be organised on request. Please contact Poppy Flint when you book if you or your organisation is able to cover the cost of this training.

Upcoming Courses:

Leading Action for Healthy Rivers, on the Brent:
Daytime course – Tuesday 29th September, Thursday 1st October & Tuesday 6th October 2020 – Read more and find out how to book here.

Evening course – Thursday 12th, Tuesday 17th, Thursday 19th & Saturday 21st (daytime) November 2020 – Read more and find out how to book here.

Sign up to the Thames21 Training Bulletin to receive information when places on new courses are available.

Course content overview: 

On Day 1 – 

you will build the knowledge, confidence and skills to lead safe, effective and fun waterway improvement events. You will learn to identify what tasks a group of volunteers can do which will really make a difference.

By the end of Day 1, you will be able to plan your own event and show that you can select an appropriate site, spot hazards, ensure health and safety, organise tasks and equipment and publicise your event.

On Day 2 –

we will look at leadership responsibilities and focus on how to deliver a welcome/health and safety briefing. We will also cover promoting your event and talk about how to motivate individuals to come together and achieve common goals as a group.

By the end of Day 2, you will understand what it takes to support and lead a successful clean-up event.  

The course involves both in-class and outdoors, site-specific learning.


Other training opportunities with Thames21
Thames21 run a range of projects across London which have volunteer training opportunities associated with them.

Current initiatives:
Become a Plastic Pollution Citizen Scientist with Thames River Watch

River Ambassadors

Previous initiatives:
Community modelling

Sign up to the Thames21 Training Bulletin to receive information and booking links for all our latest courses.

‘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’


You can view our policies for trainees here and contact Poppy Flint for more information.