The owner of an animal rescue centre has been left devastated by a grant refusal that would have enabled her to give wounded and abandoned creatures the homes they deserve.

Melanie James of Animel Haven is now pleading for someone to come forward, either to sponsor her proposed shelter or to offer her some professional fundraising support.

She presently has small animals living in a greenhouse because she will not turn away those in need but is running out of spacde at her father's plant nursery and visitor centre at Mawbray, between Silloth and Allonby.

"I had grants applications in in two places and had been led to believe that I had a good chance of getting money.

"Part of my plan is to have a therapy centre where children and adults with physical or mental health needs could come an interact with the animals.

"Everyone seemed to think it was a good idea but hey will not fund buildings so I am stuck."

She said the situation has been compounded by the lockdown.

"I feed and look after the birds and animals here by selling bric-a-brac and from donations from visitors to my dad's business, Bank Mill Nurseries. Obviously it has been closed so that source of revenue has run out."

But while businesses are locked down, the number of abandoned animals and birds left on her doorstep has not decreased.

"I can't turn them away but I am really getting desperate.

"I really thought I had a chance with my animal sanctuary but now I am back at square one."

She said she would obviously be thrilled to accept any sponsorship in the form of donations of money or tradesmen's time.

But what she also needs, she said, is someone who knows their way around grant funding and could help her source funds and make the professional applications most likely to work.

"I am really getting desperate. I have to ensure that they are cared for but it is becoming very difficulty financially and in terms of space.

"There is so much I would love to do - especially working with children with physical or emoitonal needs but I need help."