Yesterday Stephen sponsored an event for the Newham All Star Sports Academy, also known as ‘NASSA’. The Academy, which runs basketball clubs for young people across the borough, held its annual achievement awards ceremony in Parliament and Stephen attended in his role as patron of the group.
NASSA basketball teams have been hugely successful in recent years and have won trophies at every level. They have represented the UK internationally and contributed to dramatically raising the profile of the sport locally. Yesterday’s event was attended by many of the young basketballers who currently or have previously played for NASSA teams, and several took to the stage to talk passionately about the various opportunities the clubs have offered them.
Speaking after the event, Stephen said: “This was a celebration of the transformative power of sport in the lives of young people. Those who spoke made clear that NASSA is not just a team but a family. It has given a positive focus to countless youngsters, and made our borough safer. NASSA’s ‘Carry a Basketball, Not a Blade’ campaign has become famous and helped lots of young people avoid the pitfalls of violence. I applaud all of those who contribute to this excellent organisation, doing so much to help Newham’s youngsters secure a bright future”.
Backed by the Metropolitan Police, NASSA’s anti-knife campaign is estimated to reach 3,000 children and young people across the borough every year. NASSA is the first London club to achieve the Five Star Club mark from Basketball England. Yesterday’s event was also attended by former-Captain of the Great Britain Basketball team, Drew Sullivan, who presented the awards alongside Stephen.