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 two day 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.
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: 2 days and 3 short action orientated assignments to complete the accreditation

Fees: The course cost £230 per trainee but we are constantly seeking funding to make sure motivated individuals and community groups can access this course. Unless otherwise stated the courses listed here are fully funded.
Please contact Poppy Flint when you book if you or your organisation is able to cover the cost of this training.

If you are part of a community based group wanting a course tailored to your local site please talk to Poppy Flint who 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.

Upcoming Courses:

In light of the current situation with the coronavirus out break we are reviewing the way training is delivered and planning how to move some elements of the course on line.
More information about upcoming courses to be announced soon.


Tuesday 14th April and Tuesday 21st April, 2020 – POSTPONED

The April course is focused on establishing groups around the lower Lea River catchment and people who wish to join the Thames21 Event Volutneer Team

Please email Poppy Flint for a booking form if this sounds like the course for you.


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.