TIME is running out to apply for the chance for your community group to win a share of £20,000 with this year’s Airbus/Leader community awards.

The closing date for applications is this Friday, February 22.

A shortlist of 10 will be drawn up from the applications and they will all be featured in the Leader with a voting form set to appear in the paper and online.

The £20,000 will be split into the following: first prize - £7,000, second prize - £4,000, third prize - £2,000, with seven runners up receiving £1,000 each.

The 2018 awards saw £20,000 shared between 10 deserving causes, with the winners named as H.A.C.K. Horse Sanctuary.

We caught up with the charity to see what winning the top prize of £7,000 has meant to them.

The Leader:

The aim of H.A.C.K, in Wrexham, is to provide a haven for distressed, neglected and cruelly treated horses, ponies and donkeys.

Their future will be secure in the knowledge that each one will be brought back into good health and returned to a normal working life where possible and placed with vetted and caring homes. Those who are unsuitable for rehoming will stay at the sanctuary.

H.A.C.K. have successfully re-homed many equines since they started up. Potential homes and owners are carefully vetted, and as you will appreciate these animals have often had a difficult past, so H.A.C.K. needs to make sure they are going to be carefully and lovingly cared for in the future.

With their prize, the charity has purchased pooper scoopers, riding hats and wheelbarrows to be used at the sanctuary.

They currently have 16 horses, alongside a sheep, a goat, two donkeys, and some chickens.

The money that H.A.C.K. received from Airbus and the Leader has also allowed them to replace the floor in their learning centre, at a cost of £2,000.

This building was originally constructed in 2012 with Welsh Assembly funding through an award for excellence.

The maintenance of this learning centre is really important for future fundraising for the charity, as it provides a space where community groups can do crafts which can be sold at Christmas to raise money.

The Leader:

The charity also runs open days three to four times a year to show people the valuable work they do, and also provide an opportunity to raise more funds by selling crafts and organising treasure hunts for the children.

The learning centre is a great area to provide support to children and adults with special needs and mental health problems.

They also run children’s birthday parties, where youngsters can see the animals and go on pony rides for a small fee.

In 2019 the charity plan to run Own A Pony days. These will help teach children who haven’t had the opportunity to own or ride a pony the chance to learn more about mucking out, grooming and caring for the animal.

These days are not only great fun for the children but also have the aim to help educate them - and their parents - about the responsibility that comes with owning a horse. The charity believes that with better education on owning a horse, they will be able to reduce the amount that end up in a state of neglect.

H.A.C.K. Horse Sanctuary are a member of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC). Currently the council have estimated there are 5,000 horses in a state of neglect in the UK.

For details on how to apply for the Airbus/Leader community awards, visit online at www.leaderlive.co.uk/airbus