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Last week, Stephen attended the launch of Newham All Star Sport Academy (NASSA’s) youth wheelchair basketball team held at UEL’s Sport Dock.

NASSA is one of the country’s most successful local basketball clubs. It was founded in 2005 by Stratford resident Natasha Hart, who is a former Russian basketball international. NASSA aims to provide young people with a real alternative to engaging in anti-social behaviour and runs a number of activities for young people in the borough, including after school training clubs, a Saturday Academy as well as volunteer programmes.

NASSA’s new youth basketball team has been established with funding from London City Airport.  The team is open to children and young people in East London aged 11 and over and aims to provide a unique opportunity for young people, regardless of whether or not they are wheelchair users, to participate in the sport.

The initial two-year programme aims to create a sustainable team, which will be entered into the London Youth Games in the first year and the British Wheelchair Basketball Junior League in year two.  Training sessions will take place on Friday evenings, 6.00-8.00pm at the University of East London Sports Dock.

Speaking after the event, Stephen, who has been a patron of the charity since 2008, said:  “Wheelchair basketball was a very exciting event at London 2012 – I presented the medals at the final!  I am delighted that support from London City Airport is enabling NASSA to launch a wheelchair basketball club in the borough, and I hope that many local people will take the sport up.”

Natasha Hart, Director of NASSA said:  "Newham All Star Sports Academy is delighted to have London City Airport as our partner on this wheelchair basketball project. They share our vision of the equality of opportunity to play sport for all. There is a real need for this project and together we aim to unite young people in an inclusive programme in which the emphasis is firmly based on having fun."

Liam McKay, Head of Public Affairs at Community Relations at London City Airport said:  “Providing opportunities for local young people is a key aim for the airport and we are therefore delighted to be able to support this new club.  I hope it will encourage young wheelchair users to try out a new sport and bring all the benefits of being part of a team.  I look forward to watching their progress.”

AuthorStephen Timms