Leading a Waterway Event: our flagship course

Welcome to our ncfe-accredited Leading a Waterway Clean Up training course!

Leading a Clean Up 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 Badged 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 Badged 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, this can be consecutively or with up to 2 weeks in between.

Start and finish times: 10-4pm.
An evening course version runs over 4 weeks, 6:30 – 9:00pm

Upcoming dates: Please contact our Training Officer Poppy Flint to register your interest.

Fee: £230 per trainee

Any community based group wanting to access this training and interested in applying for funding to pay for it, please talk to Poppy Flint who can signpost you to 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.

Includes: Two days of tuition, Leading a Waterway Clean up handbook and additional learning resources, coursework to support your event and leadership development, NCFE accreditation and Badged Group support.

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’