July 7, 2014 – NASSA has become the first community sports project in the Borough of Newham to receive a special award from the Metropolitan Police. The award was presented by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who visited a NASSA training session.
Sir Bernard spent two hours watching the NASSA training session at Rokeby School in Canning Town, talking to coaches, parents and players as well as attending a knife crime workshop.
The Commissioner was told about NASSA’s Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative which reaches out to 2,000 young people in 65 local schools and colleges across Newham every week. He met Anthony Okearafor (below), who set up CABNAB following the death of two of his friends from knife crime in 2008, and NASSA Head Coach Chris Facey, who was recently named as Coach of the Year in the London Awards for Sport & Physical Activity 2014.
Sir Bernard said: “The Metropolitan Police award we made to NASSA is not something that we give to everybody. I’m really impressed by the project. Clearly the young people are enjoying it, keeping themselves fit and getting the sport that they can take part in. It’s very well organised. To get 2,000 young people involved in this project is fantastic. They are getting some positive messages about not getting involved in knife crime and not getting involved in the gangs, which is good.
“I’m glad to see that Newham Police are getting involved and contributing. Very clearly Coach Chris is doing a great job, while Anthony’s idea of Carry A Basketball Not A Blade is a good one. You have a lot of families who are coming along to support unpaid, giving their own time and I’m sure spending some of their own money. It’s great to see.
“I’m really impressed and I wish it all the luck in the world. If we can help, we will do.”
The Metropolitan Police award was made ‘in recognition of NASSA’s outstanding work with young people in Newham.’ In return, Sir Bernard was given a NASSA T-shirt which he promptly put on.
NASSA founder Natasha Hart said: “It’s amazing to receive such an award and it was such an honour to have the Metropolitan Police Commissioner come down to Newham to see what we do here. He took the time to speak to a lot of people and asked a lot of questions about our work.”