Neo given Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

A Wirral charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged people in Rock Ferry has been awarded the highest honour a voluntary group can receive.

NEO Community has been given the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the tireless efforts of NEO’s team of volunteers.

The Steve Morgan Foundation is a long-term supporter of the charity and recently hosted a visit from the Foundation’s director of regional grants Jane Harris and projects manager Ruth Dixon, who met Neo’s founder Ema Wilkes.

Jane said: “The work carried out by Neo Community volunteers is inspirational. The volunteers work tirelessly to benefit the disadvantaged community of Rock Ferry and its surrounds with a project that has contributed to improving access to healthy food, reducing food waste, providing employment training and volunteering opportunities, reducing social isolation and improving self-esteem.

“No opportunity is ever passed by and no need ever overlooked. All this with a no-nonsense, pragmatic approach and hundreds and hundreds of hours of hard work at the coal face.”

During the pandemic the charity ramped up all its other services to help vulnerable people in the community, operating for 16 hours a day.

Their work was supported by two grants of £38,020 from the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund in 2020 and a further £83,000 from the Community Match Challenge Fund,  which was a match-funding initiative with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Judi Blacow, chair of NEOs trustees, said: “Our amazing volunteer team keep our Community House open and provide fantastic support services to our local community.

“Their duties vary from driving to collect surplus food supplies; making up and delivering crisis food hampers; working in the shop; cooking; waiting on; cleaning up in the community café; food preparation; gardening; running bingo and kids club; general maintenance etc. The list is endless and we are so lucky to have such a flexible team, willing to tackle most things that come their way.

“In addition to our core team of volunteers, we have hundreds of others that come in for special events, for example, our very successful Christmas hamper campaign usually attracts around 200 additional willing volunteers, helping us sort, pack and deliver hampers for families and socially isolated folk.

“Covid has resulted in increased demand for crisis support and our volunteers have continued to deliver much needed mobile support services across the wider Wirral community to meet this demand. I am so very proud of each and every one of our team.

“I also want to thank our amazing NEO 50 members and our fantastic funders, without whom none of this would be possible.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Neo Community, please visit us at


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