Activating the water ways
The Active Southend-on-Thames project is a new multiagency approach raising participation levels of Southend’s residents on or near the water’s edge. The project is multifaceted, tackling the inequalities that prevent local people from accessing the water for safe physical activity.
With a varied offer of opportunities currently available along the Thames in Southend, it was identified that there was a need to build on these strengths, to ensure more people could access them. A consortium of partners came together to understand the strengths and barriers of Southend’s current offer and found activities such as walking and running groups, cycling, group exercise and water sports were already taking place.
The partners agreed it was important to host activity days to showcase the opportunities and allow residents to come and try the activities, under the guidance of experienced instructors. As part of this funding from Active Thames, it also helped to subsidise some sessions to reduce the barriers for those residents who struggle to access physical activity and hold training for instructors and volunteers to enhance their offer further.
The programme is delivering a total of 6 targeted sessions, 6 subsidised sessions, coach development training, upskilling volunteers and VCSE organisations in water sport qualifications, as well as a water safety presentation delivered to residents.Bash Mahmood, Assistant Relationship Manager
Led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), Active Thames is a partnership programme promoting physical activity on the tidal Thames and nearby inland waterways. The £20,000 grant that SAVS were awarded for the Active Southend-On-Thames project is the largest of the 2023/24 £150,000 fund, which has been awarded to 23 successful projects this year. This is part of the £390,000 of Active Thames funding across 50 community clubs to date.
A key learning and success of this project was having many different representatives supporting and endorsing this project, all working towards the aim of increasing activity on and near the waterways across Southend. Representatives included Active Essex, Southend Council Leisure & Public Health, Find Your Active Southend, Southend Council Sustainable Travel, South Essex Homes, Trust Links, Lower Thames Rowing Club, Everyone Health, Southend’s Council For Voluntary Services, Active Life for a Healthier You and Southend School Sport Partnership.