'Beacon of hope and resilience' - NASSA honoured for Outstanding Contribution To Community Sport

Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) has been recognised for its Outstanding Contribution in Sports Development at the East London Community Heroes Awards 2023.

The awards, which are run by the Rotary Club Stratford, are in their fifth year. They honour individuals and organisations for their extraordinary contributions to the east London community.

NASSA was chosen to receive its award for its unique ethos in combining basketball skills training, mentoring young people to support them with their mental health and educating them on the dangers of knife crime, county lines activity and gang memberships. This is all done through its Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative.

The judging panel praised NASSA and its Chief Executive Natasha Hart MBE, saying: “Under Natasha Hart’s visionary leadership, NASSA transformed a modest £20 investment into a beacon of hope and resilience within East London.

“By intertwining basketball with life skills and community values, NASSA has championed the CABNAB campaign, empowering over 650 youths weekly to choose sport over street violence.

“Their impressive track record boasts national league titles and profound community engagement, with the CABNAB workshops educating thousands on the perils of knife crime.

“This award is a testament to NASSA’s unwavering commitment to nurturing young minds, fostering safe spaces and creating a positive trajectory for countless lives.

“Their achievements extend beyond the court, crafting a legacy where sportsmanship, education and community unite to drive change.

“Let’s celebrate NASSA’s pivotal role in developing the champions of tomorrow and their monumental contribution to sports and social development.

“Congratulations, NASSA, for scoring a true slam dunk in community transformation.”

The awards ceremony was attended by many local dignitaries, including Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of the London Borough of Newham and Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham.

Collecting the award on behalf of NASSA, Natasha Hart said: “As ever, any recognition that NASSA receives is shared recognition. Our work is a team effort, from our amazing coaches, our passionate volunteers and the young people whose progression and development under NASSA’s guidance is why we do what we do.

“It is wonderful to receive this award from the community in which NASSA works.”