NASSA’s partnership with the University of East London (UEL), which was forged through the flagship SportsDock building, is providing an enduring community basketball legacy in east London.
NASSA and UEL came together in April 2011 to raise £475,000 of funding from Basketball England (then, England Basketball) in order to develop basketball facilities at UEL’s Newham campus.
The funding was used to build the state-of-the-art SportsDock and house a community club basketball centre in order to grow the number of people playing the sport, sustain participation and give those with talent the opportunity to excel.
Speaking at the time, Peter Griffiths, England Basketball’s Membership and Facilities Liaison Officer, said: “England Basketball is extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to invest in a top level building project that will provide a much needed boost to basketball facilities in London. We look forward to seeing NASSA’s basketball development programme grow, increasing playing opportunities and participation at all levels of the game.”
The four-court facility became NASSA’s home when it opened in the spring of 2012 and has welcomed children and young people from across the Borough of Newham, most of them from disadvantaged communities. NASSA’s diversity – our 602 Basketball England-registered playing members speak 151 different languages and dialects between them – only adds to UEL’s multicultural flavour.
Director of Sport at UEL, David Cosford, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have secured England Basketball funding towards our SportsDock facility. It will have a massive impact on basketball development at the University of East London, for our partners Newham All-Star Sports Academy and the wider local, regional and national community.”
The SportsDock facility was used during the London 2012 Olympic Games as a training base by Team USA. NASSA players were able to meet their heroes, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and other members of the USA Dream Team, winners of the men’s basketball gold medal in 2012.
NASSA invited to watch NBA players train
SportsDock has hosted NASSA’s annual Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) anniversary event which celebrates the work done in educating the young people of east London about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture.
NASSA’s partnership with UEL has blossomed. In addition to its own club programmes, NASSA works closely with the university to develop recreational playing opportunities for 16-19 year olds from local communities, as well as supporting the BUCS basketball teams at UEL. We also collaborate on a women’s programme for local teenage girls.
The value of the partnership is recognised by both of us. Speaking at the 2015 CABNAB event, UEL Vice-Chancellor John Joughin said: “NASSA is a fantastic initiative. It is obviously having an impact in the community in a positive way. UEL is all about working with the community in civic engagement so working in partnership on projects like this is absolutely the thing we aim to do. We are very proud of our association with NASSA.”
SportsDock has witnessed some of NASSA’s most thrilling achievements during our 10 years in existence, including the friendly match between Dynamo Moscow and NASSA in September 2015.
NASSA Chief Executive Natasha Hart says: “It is amazing to think back and realise that a small organisation like NASSA has been able to secure such an important partner as UEL and that together we brought in nearly half a million pounds of funding to realise our joint dream.
NASSA has always been about building a strong basketball programme from the grassroots through to performance level and we are grateful to have UEL as our partners on this journey.”