Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

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Making #HerStory: Beasts of the East

A little about us: LDN East Beasts is the only women’s recreational basketball team in the North East London area who both compete and run open community sessions for women of all levels to pick up a ball and get active. In England, 337,000 women participate in less than 30 minutes of sport a week and women make up only 25% of basketball players. LDN East Beasts aims to change these statistics by building a safe environment for women from all different pathways to enjoy sport.

Our captain and founder Ola has been running open community sessions in Dagenham for three years, in Tower Hamlets for four years prior, and with both teams has successfully gotten women from beginners to league players! In the 22/23 basketball season LDN East Beasts started a women’s local league team. In our very first season together, we won our league! Win after win we realised #HERSTORY was being made and that we were building something beyond special. We created a safe space where full time mothers, students, and professionals came together to uplift each other, and need we say again, win together (bonus) all while having fun, being active and simultaneously growing this important community of players and supporters.

We at LDN East Beasts understand the difficulty of juggling the demands of being a mother, work, keeping fit and eating healthily and how this can affect your mental health and wellbeing. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress levels compared to those who are less active and we want to create a consistent space where women can come and focus on themselves for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, at the end of our last season the team we were attached to decided it no longer wanted a women’s team, leaving us with no base to call “home” and a community of women unable to attend open sessions. However, as a team we decided that #HERSTORY must continue, and with our links in the local community we were able to secure consistent court time at Riverside Campus, fundraise for excess fees and get the team back together again, in just a matter of weeks. We are well into our 23/24 season now and having been promoted into a higher league we are getting better every game we play! With a few wins under our belt, a solid relationship at Riverside Campus, we would like to get back to the original vision of getting more women from all walks of life to play this sport. 

We were fortunate enough to get a grant from Barking Riverside Community Fund to kick start our open community sessions! From the 15th February we will have a court open to women to come down and learn the game, have fun and get active. The sessions run from 7pm-9pm and there is an opportunity for all women to either learn the basics with our captain Ola or play at pace with our team.

Ola has coached women from ages 18-60, and has an excellent style that simplifies the game so everyone can get involved. You may think you’ve never played before, are too old or have no coordination, but trust us after a few sessions with Ola you’ll be amazed at what your body can do. Whilst this isn’t a post about Ola, what you should also know about our captain and founder is that she spent the last year battling stage 3 breast cancer at 30 years old. All whilst managing the team and making sure we would have a place to call home, a space to decompress and a community to support us when we needed it. So know when we say #’HERSTORY is being made, know that we mean it. She has always been extremely supportive and excellent at coaching the game as well as teaching how to be confident, but as she always says “trust your body, it is just a matter of time”.

So hopefully this serves as inspiration enough! Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned vet, healthy or getting back to it, if you are keen to get active, want to try something new, return to something old, or just to join a community of women supporting women to be the best version of themselves, come join us at London East Beasts!

Want to get active? Join us at our open community sessions: 

Riverside Campus, Starting Friday 15th February 7pm-9pm. 

First 2 sessions are free: £5 thereafter.

Want to get back to playing competitive basketball? Join our team! Riverside Campus, Every Wednesday 7pm-9pm. 

Get in touch via email 

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By Ola Awosika

Local resident

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