NASSA’s participation numbers since its creation have grown remarkably. Back in 2005, it could boast just two England Basketball registered members – the sons of Natasha Hart. Those figures quickly rose to:
- 90 by the 2007/08 season
- 306 by 2009/10
- 510 by 2012/13
Also, NASSA now has 20 qualified coaches on its books, all of whom are employed on at least a casual basis. In 2007, NASSA gained its first England Basketball National League title – in the under-13s age group. Last season – 2012/13 – NASSA’s teams across its junior and senior, men’s and women’s ranks, won 14 National League titles. NASSA has been awarded 5-star Club Mark status by England Basketball, partly because of its specific focus on the personal development of its young people in providing them the opportunity to gain professional qualifications. Every year since 2006, between 40 and 50 NASSA students gain official basketball officiating qualifications through the locally run Table Officiating Course and the Level 1 Basketball Referee Course.
Alongside the competition side of the charity sits our community work. On a weekly basis, up to 2,000 children attend the school sessions delivered by NASSA in 65 schools across the Borough of Newham.
When developing the schools project, NASSA was adamant that clear pathways were established to encourage the young people involved in the session to become involved in sport, and in particular basketball.
From the children attending the sessions, a total of 40 young people (18 girls and 22 boys) are now involved in the NASSA club programme and are training three or more times per week.
NASSA coaches lay on sessions that are based on the principle that building mutual respect and trust can provide gateways to alternative lifestyles. The horizons of the young people are widened through sport, but every participant is expected to adhere to standards of behaviour which has made NASSA a club to which local youngsters aspire.
All NASSA participants and staff members vigorously operate an equal opportunities policy to ensure that all sessions are open to everyone and to guarantee that no participants experience any sort of discrimination or abuse.
The basketball sessions are scheduled for times when it has been recorded that young people will be at risk of committing crime and indulging in anti-social behaviour.
The measurement of NASSA’s success is not purely numerical. It can also be seen in the confidence gained by the young people who participate in NASSA’s teams and in those who have gained qualifications which is helping them to give back to the sport and encouraging other young people to follow their example.