11 May 2017
Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) has qualified nearly 50 local disadvantaged young people as basketball coaches, referees and table officials in the past six months alone.
NASSA was set up to give young people the chance to play basketball in a safe, fun environment away from the temptations of anti-social behaviour and substance abuse.
Recently, NASSA has placed emphasis on also giving those young people the opportunity to gain officially recognised sports qualifications.
These qualifications will help them gain confidence, make them more attractive to potential employers and are providing Newham and the Royal Docks area with its next generation of sports coaches.
In total, 30 local young people aged 14 and over gained Level 1 Basketball Referee and Table Official qualifications, while 16 local young people aged 16 and above gained UKCCL1 Level 1 Basketball Coach qualifications.
Some of these newly qualified coaches include pupils who attend NewVic College, Royal Docks School, Cumberland School and Kingsford Community School, all of which are local to ExCeL.
In December, NASSA received official recognition for its work when three of its members collected awards in the coveted KeolisAmey Docklands Community Champion Awards 2016.
NASSA player and Canning Town schoolboy Tyrees Garrod was named Young Achiever of the Year category for his stance against bullying. A victim himself in the past, Tyrees now stands up in classes to give anti-bullying talks to pupils of all ages and also offers advice to the younger NASSA members at training sessions.
NASSA Head Coach Chris Facey was recognised as Role Model of the Year for his work in inspiring young people across east London to embrace the positive virtues that basketball can offer. Coach Chris mentors NASSA young people and is always available to offer advice on life as well as basketball.
Finally, NASSA men’s team player and sports coordinator Anthony Okereafor collected the Outstanding Service to the Community award for his work in creating and promoting NASSA’s Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative.
Anthony came up with the idea of educating young people on the dangers of knife crime and gang culture in 2008, the year in which two of his friends died in separate knife-related incidents.
CABNAB workshops and mentoring talks form an integral part of the extra-curricular schools sessions NASSA runs across East London, reaching out to over 2,000 young people every week.
Among these, weekly sessions at the Royal Docks School are attended by 15-20 young people with a mixture of boys and girls coming along.
UEL’s SportsDock building hosts NASSA sessions three weekday evenings each week with between 25 and 50 young people attending each day.
In addition, NASSA continues to run six age-group teams for its young people to participate in Basketball England National League competitions.