Metropolitan Police Commissioner presents award to NASSA

July 7, 2014 – NASSA has become the first community sports project in Newham to receive a special award from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. Read the full story here.

CHARITY OF THE YEAR! – NASSA is on top of the charity world

Charity Awards logoJune 13, 2014 – Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) has received the ultimate accolade by being announced as Charity of the Year in The Charity Awards 2014 – the most prestigious awards programme in the charity sector.

NASSA receiving Overall Winner award at The Charity Awards 2014

NASSA founder Natasha Hart receiving the Overall Winner Award.

The highly coveted honour was announced last night at a star-studded awards evening hosted by comedian Stephen Frost at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Earlier in the evening, NASSA was chosen as winner of the Children and Youth category because of the impact that our Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative has had on our young people and the local community in east London.

The overall Charity of the Year was then selected from the 10 category winners. For NASSA it is the highest possible praise for the work that began with an impromptu basketball coaching session in an east London park in 2005.

Charity Awards judge Sir Christopher Kelly described NASSA as  “a really energetic organisation doing substantial things to help the local community.”

NASSA founder Natasha Hart said: “We are used to winning on the basketball court but we could never have imagined winning off it in such a manner. This award is for everyone connected with NASSA – our wonderful coaches, our dedicated volunteers, the parents who entrust us with their children, the community partners who support us, our patrons, the Rt Hon Stephen Timms, MP for Newham and Rt Rev Mgr John Armitage VG and, of course, our young people. They are the reason we do what we do and they have achieved so much.”

The Charity Awards, which celebrated its 15th year last night, is a year-round programme run by Civil Society Media in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation. Read more about NASSA’s night of glory here:

Following The Charity Awards, NASSA founder Natasha Hart was interviewed on the Gaby Roslin Show on BBC London 94.9. Listen to the interview here:


NASSA coaches honoured at London Sports Awards

June 5, 2014 – The dedication of coaches Chris Facey and Aurimas Verbukas was recognised last night at the Lee Valley VeloPark, formerly the Olympic Velodrome, on a stunning evening of success for NASSA.

London Sports Awards logo resizedBoth earned top honours at the London Awards for Sport & Physical Activity 2014 organised by London Sport, The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership for London. Chris was named as Coach of the Year, while Aurimas picked up the Volunteer of the Year award. Each of them beat stiff competition in their respective categories to earn a well-deserved reward for all of their tremendous hard work at NASSA over the past 12 months.

Aurimas Verbukas (left) and Chris Facey (right) receiving their awards.

Aurimas Verbukas (left) and Chris Facey (right) receiving their awards.

Chris, NASSA’s head coach, has been with us since we started in 2006. He spends all of his time – whatever he’s got – coaching as many sessions as NASSA can fit in for him. He coaches up to 20 hours per week in the extra-curricular schools and college sessions NASSA runs. Chris also gives 25-30 hours of his time on a voluntary basis to the NASSA club programme.

As a mentor for the young people, many of them who have troubled home lives, he is like a dad. He is also requested for at every school he goes to. They all say: “We want Coach Chris.” Read Chris’ full story here.

Aurimas came to NASSA for three months to improve his English when he moved to the UK form Lithuania. That was five years ago. He gives up over 30 hours each week to coach our basketball teams. What makes this especially remarkable is that he combines this with his full-time job as a supervisor for a postal company. He truly has NASSA in his blood.

Aurimas is coach of NASSA’s Under-18s side. He is also assistant coach to Chris for our National League champions Under-13s boys side. Read Aurimas’ full story here.

NASSA also received an Honourable Mention in the Community Sport Project of the Year category.

Sad news from the NASSA family

May 15, 2014 – It is with great sadness that we have to pay tribute to our NASSA coach, volunteer and friend Zawdie Ogunseye (Zoodie), who has passed away suddenly at the age of just 33.

Zoodie has been involved with NASSA for the past three years. Only last week he was with us at the University of East London SportsDock at an event he organised to present certificates to our National Champions Under-13s boys’ side. Zoodie contributed hugely to the NASSA family, starting as a volunteer, driving and travelling with junior and senior teams across the country, organising events and sharing in our many successes.

He will be hugely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Zoodie’s wife and three children.

The NASSA family

NASSA Under-13s are National Champions again!

photo of under-13s national champions 2014

April 7, 2014 – Newham All Star Sports Academy’s (NASSA) Under-13s basketball team have been crowned national champions for the third year in succession. Led by coach Chris Facey and assistant coach Aurimas Verbukas, they won the 2014 England Basketball National Final Fours competition at the Worcester Arena on Saturday, beating Leicester Warriors 117-62 in the final.

The victory marked a third consecutive triumph in that age group for NASSA captain Enoch Denkyirah who first played for the Under-13s side when he was just 10.

Speaking of the win, NASSA ‘s director Natasha Hart said: “This is phenomenal. It is only our seventh year of competing in the National League and we have won the Under-13s championship three years in a row.”….. Read More.

NASSA shortlisted in the Business Charity Awards 2014

April 1, 2014 – Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) has been shortlisted for its partnership work with Tate & Lyle Sugars in the Business Charity Awards 2014.

We have been shortlisted in the Community Partnership Award category for our work with Tate & Lyle Sugars on our Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative.

The winners of each category in the Business Charity Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on Tuesday 13th May 2014 at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane…. Read More.

NASSA Founder Carries Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics Torch

Natasha - Sochi Torch 2March 3, 2014 – NASSA founder Natasha Hart passed over the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics Flame in London’s Trafalgar Square yesterday.

Accompanied by British Paralympic Association Chairman Tim Reddish, Natasha held the Paralympic Torch aloft on a specially constructed stage in front of 8,000 people as part of the annual Russian ‘Maslenitsa’ festival. The Torch was then handed over to be flown over to Sochi where it will light the official Paralympic Flame at the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics this Friday, March 9, 2014.

Natasha, who was born near to the city of Sochi in her native Russia, was chosen because of her work with NASSA helping young people in East London. She said: ”It was an amazing experience, such an honour for me being Russian by birth.”

London Basketball Charity Recognised in Social Change Awards 2013

NatashaDSC Awards-15 December 6, 2013 – Newham All Star Sports Academy  (NASSA) has been named  as runner-up in the prestigious DSC  Social Change Awards 2013.

The basketball charity offers the young people of Newham, east  London the opportunity to become active in sport, to play  basketball on both a recreational and competitive basis and to  increase awareness locally about the dangers of knife crime in  London.

It was recognised in the ‘Everyday Impact – Long Term Enterprises’ category at the awards ceremony in central London in December 2013.

NASSA founder Natasha Hart collected the runner-up award at the ceremony. She was presented by DSC’s Chief Executive Debra Allcock Tyler and guest speaker Alex Swallow, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, with a specially commissioned cartoon drawn by Private Eye cartoonist Grizelda…..Read More.


pm “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 – Prime Minister

“I was very impressed with my recent visit to a NASSA training session – not only at the skill of these young people but also with their teamwork and dedication. Improving community links between young people and the police and building confidence and positivity for the next generation is of the utmost importance. The Metropolitan Police Service in Newham is delighted to be involved with such a valuable youth project and we are looking forward to another fantastic year of working together. I am very much looking forward to my next visit.” Robert Jones – Newham Borough Commander

Sir Robin Wales

“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

Stephen Timms

“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