Edsential HAF provider Neo Community receive prestigious award from Department for Education

Edsential HAF provider Neo Community receive prestigious award from Department for Education

Neo Community have been chosen as the regional North West winner of the Department for Education HAF award

Edsential Community Interest Company on behalf of Wirral Council coordinate the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the main school holidays, all thanks to funding from the Department for Education. Edsential distributes the funds to a whole host of organisations across the borough to provide enriching activities and nutritious meals supporting children and young people in receipt of free school meals. Winners of the North West HAF Award, Neo Community, have been providing a HAF club for Wirral families since the pilot scheme in 2018, before it was rolled out across the country in 2021. Ema Wilkes, CEO of Neo Community is delighted to have won the award, saying:

“We are immensely proud that we have won the regional award and have the chance to win the national award. We were part of a small collective that campaigned and championed the HAF programme, working closely with Frank Field and his team to get to the reading of the ‘Holiday Hunger Bill in 2018’. We were invited to the Houses of Parliament to see the reading of the bill and this was the start of the HAF journey for Neo Community and so many other incredible community groups and schools.”

Every year each local authority is invited to nominate one organisation from their list of HAF clubs for the prestigious award. The Wirral Steering Group, which is made up of staff from; Edsential, Wirral Council, NHS, community groups, Wirral CVS and Wirral schools, nominated Neo Community for this award. Heather Lewis, Edsential’s HAF Manager said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Neo Community have won the regional HAF award for 2024. Neo were instrumental in the HAF programme starting and they work tirelessly to provide a fantastic provision in a safe space, which children and young people know and love. The award is so well deserved – a huge congratulations to everyone at Neo Community. We are looking forward to the finals where the National HAF award winner will be announced.”

The Neo Community team will attend the awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on 17th June 2024. Ema Wilkes, added:

“We would like to thank the amazing team at Edsential and Wirral Council who have allowed us to develop this partnership further and continue to fly the flag for levelling the playing field and working towards fighting inequalities across our communities. We never work in isolation, and we are proud to be part of an incredible community network across Wirral.”

To find out more about Neo Community, please visit: www.neocommunity.org.uk/

To check if your child could be eligible for the HAF scheme, please visit: www.edsential.com/HAF. To be kept up to the date with the HAF summer programme visit Edsential’s Facebook or Edsential’s X.