NASSA was founded through the vision of a mother of two boys, Natasha Hart, who wanted to teach her sons the game of basketball. At a local park in Newham in 2005, Natasha gave her sons an impromptu coaching session one day. She offered to make it a weekly treat. Her sons decided to invite their friends along. Word of mouth swelled the numbers still further and within a few weeks, Natasha was taking a session for nearly 30 local youngsters between the ages of eight and 16.
The potential of the players was immediately obvious, as was the demand and the need of the local young people to meet in a safe environment and have fun.
Natasha saw it as her duty to bring basketball into a community sport setting where gang culture and knife crime was on the increase. She was driven by the desire to offer sporting opportunities to local young people in the east end of London.
With basketball being an indoor sport, but no indoor facility being available for free and just £20 spare to open a new bank account, Natasha decided to set up the Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) charity.
In 2006, she did – with the help of a £4,000 funding grant from the London Borough of Newham. Her aim was to set up a basketball charity which could offer competitive basketball to local children and youths, as well as a safe haven to play sport away from the lure of anti-social behaviour, alcohol, drugs and crime in one of London’s most deprived boroughs.
It was also to offer advice and to educate local young people that through sport in general and basketball in particular, they could find an outlet for their energy and passion.