“We want to create great basketball players but more than that we want to make good citizens.”
Natasha Hart MBE – NASSA Founder and Chief Executive
“I believe that we all need to work together to tackle crime, and I welcome the relationship that exists between NASSA, the Metropolitan Police, local schools and others. Your success is a great tribute to the results that can be achieved when people join together like this.
“The project uses the popularity of basketball to give young people something to do after school and keep them off the streets. It is not just about stopping people carrying knives, it’s about saving lives.”
Rt Hon David Cameron – The Prime Minister
“I don’t look on the younger players at NASSA as being younger. I see them all as being part of my family. When I come to NASSA and the basketball sessions, I forget everything, all of the problems that I have outside. It all goes away because I have a family here.”
Sidney Ekio – NASSA participant
“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.
“I’m glad to see that Newham Police are getting involved and contributing. I’m really impressed and I wish it all the luck in the world. If we can help, we will do.”
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe – Metropolitan Police Commissioner
“It is wonderful news that no young person has lost his or her life in Newham through knife crime in the past year and that no family has had to endure the heartache that follows such a tragic event.
“But we have to keep working and educating young people so that no young person dies as a result of knife crime in the next 12 months, and each year that follows.”
Anthony Okereafor – Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) creator, after the number of deaths of young people in Newham dropped from 11 in 2013 to 6 in 2014 to 0 in 2015.
“Chris [NASSA Head Coach Chris Facey] doesn’t just talk about basketball to the kids, he talks to them about life. That is the difference between him and other coaches. I know my son is being mentored by someone who can teach him how to be a good man. He instils in the kids the value of life, which is important.”
Jenny Mendioro – parent of a NASSA player
The invaluable lessons in life the young people learn at NASSA will surely secure a better future for every young person involved.
“As a diplomat, I can fully appreciate the importance of this charity’s truly inspirational activity and I am especially proud to know that Ms Natasha Hart its founder and leader, is my compatriot.”
Mr Alexander Yakovenko.- Russian Ambassador to the UK
“As a group, we looked at NASSA and we felt it was a good cause. Coming here today, seeing the bus and all of the kids, as well as seeing Chris the coach, who’s fantastic, you can see it’s going to be a worthy cause. We’re really pleased that we have done this today. Good luck to them all.
“It’s lovely to be part of the NASSA family now. Natasha’s invited us to come back in September for their 10-year anniversary event. If I’m around, I’d love to pop back to say ‘Hi’ and make sure that there are no dents in the bus!”
Dennis Wise – former Chelsea and England footballer, on presenting NASSA with its first minibus on behalf of the Dennis Wise and Frankham Consultancy Group Trust
“Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) has made a remarkable contribution to Newham since 2006 and I am proud to be one of its patrons. The first London club to achieve the Five Star Club mark from England Basketball, its teams have won national titles across all age groups.
“I have hosted NASSA’s annual awards ceremony at the House of Commons since 2009 to celebrate young people’s success on and off the basketball court.
“The Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) project supported by the Metropolitan Police has enthused many young people in Newham and has made a powerful case for positive involvement in sport instead of the negative alternatives.”
Rt Hon Stephen Timms – MP for Newham and NASSA patron
(NASSA is) “a really energetic organisation doing substantial things to help the local community.”
Sir Christopher Kelly – member of the judging panel of The Charity Awards 2014. NASSA was named overall Charity of the Year 2014
“NASSA has helped me to build my confidence and given me a thing to do apart from just staying at home and doing nothing. It has given me something to look forward to each week.
“And it has given me an ambition to do something else in the future – to be in the NBA or the Euro League. Or if I don’t achieve that, then to manage either my own bank or a very wealthy bank like HSBC.”
Enoch Denkiyrah – NASSA participant
“We expected a lot from this special visit because we know the important role that NASSA plays here in the UK. They not only act as a sports charity and a sports project, they also play a prominent role as a social project which supports the lives of children who don’t always have the best possible conditions in which to grow up and don’t have the best possible chances in life, so they are supported by NASSA and its guardians.
“We were really interested in meeting them and making friends with them. Has NASSA lived up to those expectations? Absolutely.”
Mr – Dynamo Moscow
We are doing the right thing. It works for us. Kids are kids. They make mistakes, but if they can control their behaviour in the classroom, on and off the court, that’s all we ask and we’ve got no trouble at all when it comes to practice. Everyone understands. “We don’t expect them to give us millions in the future but if there is a way they can grow up, do something good and help put back into what we do, that would be really great for us.
“The kids find a certain way to reward me. Sometimes I get a text to say: ‘Coach, it’s good.’ That’s good enough for me. There’s nothing else I could want from them than to see them do well, respect what they are and where they are coming from.”
Coach Chris Facey – NASSA Head Coach, who was named UK Community Coach of the Year 2014 at the UK Coaching Awards
“We are very proud of the Basketball club and all of its teams and the work that Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) does in schools with young people is invaluable.
“I am always impressed when I meet young people from NASSA not just by their enthusiasm and dedication to basketball, but also by their commitment to making a difference in their community.
“They are working hard to change attitudes and behaviour among their peers. That is a credit to them and to the NASSA leaders and coaches.”
Sir Robin Wales – Mayor of Newham
“NASSA has been a great supporter of our institution and without NASSA’s commitment, our SportsDock home would not be the facility it is today. I hope that we can enjoy another 10 years of sporting success together.”
David Cosford – Director of Sport at University of East London
“Sport has a fantastic power to change lives. By founding Carry A Basketball Not A Blade [CABNAB] you have given young people a safe place to be and are raising awareness of the dangers they face if they choose to carry a knife.
“Through your hard work and dedication you are making our communities stronger and our country a better place. On behalf of the whole country, I hope this Points of Light Award can be a small way of saying thank you.”
Rt Hon David Cameron – The Prime Minister, in a letter to Anthony Okereafor congratulating him on being named one of the UK’s Points of Light
“Having attended one of NASSA’s practice sessions, it is fantastic to see practical social skills being taught in a sports environment. It is easy to see why the students and everyone involved is so passionate about NASSA.
“I am very proud of NASSA being based in Newham and humbled by the announcement that it has been rightly recognised as Charity of the Year. I am certain that the passion I saw will take NASSA from strength to strength. The Police in Newham will assist whenever we can.
“Go, NASSA, go!”
Tony Nash – Newham Borough Commander
“What Chris [NASSA Head Coach Chris Facey] does as a coach that no-one else does is give himself. Young people want to play basketball because of him. He treats every kid as his own. He prioritises schoolwork and being respectful to your parents over basketball. That’s the greatest thing of all because not every kid is going to play in the NBA, but he tries to get them to have an education. He lives and breathes it all. He’s absolutely fantastic.”
Marina Gunn – parent of two NASSA players
“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.”
John Joughin – Vice-Chancellor, University of East London (UEL)