wheelchair-basketball.jpgA year after it was set up the Newham All Star Sports Academy’s (NASSA) wheelchair basketball team, sponsored by London City Airport, is in full swing.

Participants from boroughs across East London meet up every Friday for the 2 hour wheelchair basketball session delivered by coach Ann Wild and assistant coach Chris Facey.

The group, consisting primarily of local young wheelchair users and some able bodied youth, uses University of East London’s special sports wheelchairs to participate. Tyrees, one of NASSA’s particularly talented young players aged 14, was so inspired by the young disabled participants that he wants to take a wheelchair basketball coaching qualification when he turns 16.

It is a truly inclusive activity, building bridges between young disabled and able-bodied East Londoners with a joint passion for the sport. The project is also having a fantastic all-round impact on the young people involved, with results indicating that 95% feel healthier, 94% feel better about themselves, and 93% feel more motivated. 

Alongside training, the wheelchair basketball squad entered a team into the 2015 London Youth Games at Crystal Palace, coming a credible sixth out of 10 teams after only 3 months of training.  The team will enter again in 2016 with an ambition to rise through the ranks.

Our support for wheelchair basketball is part of the airport’s wider community engagement, which is all about providing opportunities for local residents – opportunities for employment, developing skills, training, and education. This great initiative presents potentially disadvantaged young people with the chance to socialise, learn a new skill and achieve something positive.