6. RiverLUTiON Volunteer River Monitors

Themes: Community engagement and participation; Improving water quality and water quantity


  • Improve local knowledge and understanding of the river and the issues facing it
  • Increase public access to and involvement in the river
  • Promote the river as a community and educational resource
  • Promote action to reduce households' water consumption and pollution
  • Work together to investigate and implement solutions to manage and minimise sources of pollution
  • Educate the general public and local businesses about its role in water quality and quantity improvements

Project description

Groundwork is running a community engagement project that empowers local people to form a volunteer network programme with scientific credentials.

Launched in summer 2017, it allows us to assess and monitor the health of the river, leading to better decision-making and intelligent interventions and improvements. It links with the work that the school and youth groups are undertaking on Junior River Wardens, but involves a number of more complex monitoring tasks such as water quality/pollution tests, habitat surveys, pollution contaminants survey and an invertebrates survey.

The project has involved providing training to two Groundwork staff members in order to create a RiverLUTiON Hub. The hub acts as a local citizen science place for local people to be trained up as volunteers with the aim of engaging at least 20 volunteers each year over two years. As well as local residents, the project is targeting Luton BID and town centre businesses, and in addition those with land along the river bank in private ownership such as Vauxhall and Luton Hoo, Friends of Parks groups and University students.

Volunteers are provided with training, information and the equipment required to assess and monitor the health of the River Lea. The first two training sessions took place on Friday 22 September 2017 and Saturday 20 January 2018 at St Augustine Church Hall, Cats Brook Road, Luton. We will run more sessions so please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to take part.

The next training session will be Wednesday 22 August from 9.30am to 2pm at Augustine Church Hall, Cats Brook Road, Luton - please contact Sarah Culverwell on 01582 720147 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to sign up. 

The Cartographer map below collates and present the data, to create a timeline of the health of the river and allow volunteers and general audience to see value of data being collected.




Project lead: Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire
Project partners: Luton Borough Council (LBC) and the Environment Agency
Funding source: Thames Water Community Investment Fund, Affinity Water Community Engagement Programme, LBC
Project start: Spring 2017
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.