This year's Airbus and The Leader Community Awards are bigger and better than before ... and now 10 groups and organisations need your help to land them our top prize.

The 2018 awards will see £20,000 shared between the 10 deserving causes.

We'll be sharing the prize money as follows: First Prize £7,000 Second Prize £4,000 Third Prize £2,000. Seven runners up will each receive £1,000.

Each of the 10 shortlisted entries are featured below.

feedback surveys

The Leader:

Advance Brighter Futures

Based in Belmont House in Wrexham, ABF aim to get people suffering with mental health problems back on their feet by expanding their social circles and helping them gain the confidence to go to new places and find employment.

One of the latest projects is BYW. BYW is the Welsh word for ‘alive’ but also stands for Believe You Will.

The project provides help and support for people with severe mental illness who are currently in acute and secondary care.

The project has been running since February 20 of last year, and in that time has worked with more than 150 people and provided intensive support to 65 people.

The funding would go a long way towards securing future ABF projects.

The Leader:

Miles of Smiles

Now in its 25th year, the volunteers at Chester-based charity Miles of Smiles are hoping to celebrate their silver anniversary in style.

The organisation takes terminally ill, sick and disabled children away on holidays organisers describe as a “trip of a lifetime”.

But, of course, this does not come cheap, with the charity trying to cover the costs of about 18 children, plus parents and carers, coach pick-up from both Deeside and Chester, flights from Manchester airport to Charles de Gaulle in Paris and onwards to Disneyland Paris.

“We take children from Chester, Ellesmere Port and Flint on what we like to call a ‘trip of a lifetime’ to help make memories,” says treasurer Gary Horton, who estimates the charity has so far taken more than 350 local children to Disneyland Paris.

The Leader:

Dee Point Primary

From helping young children to read to relieving the intense stress faced by university students, dogs are becoming an increasingly familiar part of school programs across the country.

Worries about allergies and safety fears are steadily giving way to higher reading scores and improved social interaction as headteachers surrender to the charms of these lovable and loving assistants.

“I’ve seen it work in several special schools that we work with,” said Dave Williams, head teacher at Dee Point Primary School, in Blacon, whose plan to bring a therapy dog into the school has been shortlisted for this year’s Airbus Community Awards.

Dave is convinced of the benefits a therapy dog will bring to his pupils, particularly those with behavioural problems or special educational needs and is grateful for the chance to win a share of £20,000.

“Our plan is to buy a dog and train as opposed to buying in the services of a therapy dog,” added Dave.

“Cockapoos are a favourite because they are hypoallergenic, which is best for children with allergies and asthma and their temperaments are really good.

“We’re delighted to be shortlisted, as we applied two years ago with a similar programme and we’re all really thrilled.”

The Leader:

Action for Children

Action for Children, in Mold, is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year.

Their Flintshire Family project hopes to win a share of £20,000 to continue helping families who have suffered in traumatic situations.

Nikki Booth, community fundraiser, said the charity helps up to 300 families a year in Flintshire alone.

She added: “Winning this award would be hugely beneficial for the charity and the families we help. We are only a small building and looking at us, you wouldn’t believe the amount of work that actually goes on in there.”

Action for Children aims to help those who have suffered sexual abuse and emotional harm, through therapeutic intervention and organising activities.

The charity relies heavily on fundraising and thrives on helping children gain more confidence and social skills.

If Action for Children were to win the award, their money would go towards their therapeutic rooms, which they say helps people recover from traumatic situation.

The Leader:


The H.A.C.K Horse Sanctuary has dedicated itself to rescuing and treating abandoned horses and ponies since it was founded by Pamela Bluck in 1992.

Some of those horses that have long-term medical needs have stayed on to become well-loved members of the family at the Bradley-based centre, such as Daisy, who is 28, and Little Roo, a Shetland pony who arrived with her mother, Agnes, 18 months ago.

Volunteer and fundraiser, Alison Stubbs said: “When we first started the objective was to rescue horses, but over the years we have gone more into the education side of it now, as a lot of neglect is down to ignorance.

“The youngsters need to know about the hard work and cost involved taking on a horse, from feeding to vet and farrier bills.”

The sanctuary runs an outreach educational programme to teach primary school children the basics of horse care, as well as a Saturday Club which focuses on animal welfare.

The Leader:


NEWCIS, which is based in New Street, Mold, is a charity which provides a lifeline to carers and will mark its 25th year in November.

The organisation, which gained charity status three years ago, was originally a project set up by the Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council as the North East Wales Carers Information Service.

It supports people who care for family members and friends, but who are not paid carers. Geographically NEWCIS - which has bases in Mold and Rhyl - has a team of 30 covering North East Wales.

In terms of services, the charity offers counselling, information and signposting, facilitation of support groups for carers, and training and advice for carers on a variety of subjects, including employability, finances, funeral planning as well as respite.

Helen Owen, events coordinator at the charity, explained the funds would be used to enhance the charity’s newly established lasting power of attorney (LPA) project which is aimed at carers and those who are cared for. An LPA is a legal document that lets a person appoint one or more people to help them make decisions or to make decisions on their behalf.

The Leader:

Cheshire Young Carers

Being a young carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up.

It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self confidence, while many young carers struggle to juggle their education and caring, which can cause pressure and stress.

With an estimated 700,000 young carers in the UK looking after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol, the issue is perhaps more widespread than many realise, which is where a charity like Cheshire Young Carers steps in.

“At Cheshire Young Carers we pride ourselves on delivering respite to young carers, giving a special group of young people a break from their often daily stresses and responsibilities,” said Julie McHugh, the charity’s director.

“Children as young as six have caring roles, and their home environment can have a significant impact upon their life chances.

“That’s where Cheshire Young Carers comes in, to make the small changes that can make a big difference to the lives of children who care for loved ones.”

The Leader:

Food with Friends

Food With Friends was set up “as a consequence of the world we’re in” and helps those around Shotton access a hot meal if they weren’t already able to do so.

The project launched in November 2016 out of Rivertown Church, on Chester Road West, after initial discussions about developing a soup kitchen.

Chris Byrne, project team leader, said: “We really started by coming to help those who needed it and took inspiration from a similar set up in Mold.

“The number of guests has risen to an average of 20 with a capacity to feed up to 40 people. We intend to extend the service to other days and times of the week to enable children to get a hot meal.

“Our guests are in desperate need for food and they get this as well as a warm, friendly environment.”

Potential funding would help enhance the kitchen facilities to accommodate the ever-increasing number of guests and enable them to extend food services to many more at different times of the week.

The group currently has a budget to run for about 10 months and would be able to increase that if successful.

The Leader:

The River Dee Centre

Based in Flint, the River Dee Centre helps groups across Flintshire, including vulnerable adults and children.

Working alongside a housing charity, they also help homeless people by providing them accommodation across 24 properties.

The group provides pastoral support and offers a six-month tenancy, giving those in need a chance to rehabilitate their lives.

Manager Ben Betts said: “Winning this award would be huge, it would help us grow and it would open up more opportunities for us to continue to help the community.”

If they were to win the award, Ben and his team hope to open a café in the town with a suspended scheme, which would be run by volunteers.

He added: “People will be able to purchase their own breakfast or coffee, or whatever and then they can purchase something else and suspend it, so then when someone comes to us in need, if they don’t have any money, they can eat what is available.”

The Leader:

Brymbo Heritage Orchard

Brynteg CP School and the Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project are working on an outside classroom project, on land above the school playing field.

The donation would be spent on supporting the site on storage and tooling, gates and fencing, notice boards and safety equipment for the pupils.

The area will be initially divided in two, with half nearest to the school fenced off to allow the pupils and staff to use it as an outdoor classroom, and to allow the continued public use of the other half, provided there is no dog fouling or anti-social behaviour.

Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project approached the school to extend their project, which is also being undertaken at the former Brymbo Steelworks site.

The project will start with the planting about 30 heritage apple trees, funded through a project run by the Welsh Perry and Cider Society and the National Lottery Heritage Fund on a plot of land currently covered in bracken.

Bracken and other overgrowth will be cleared to give the existing plant life room to grow, especially the fruit trees already planted in 2005-2008.

The aim is to give the pupils an understanding of their environment by visiting the area regularly and noting the seasonal changes taking place, giving them a good understanding of the biodiversity of their environment.