The Baxter Project


Project by David O'Driscoll

Total raised £0

£39,000 target 43 days left
0% 0 supporters

The Baxter Project provides a therapeutic early intervention using dogs to build trust, resilience and wellbeing in vulnerable young people.


The Baxter Project: Building Brighter Futures

Our Vision:

Imagine a world where every young person discovers their inner strength and potential. At The Baxter Project, we aim to make this vision a reality by empowering youth to lead fulfilling lives. However, we need your help. The mental health crisis among young people is alarming, with one in five struggling emotionally in 2023 and with the current cost of living crisis exacerbating issues. Traditional support systems are overwhelmed, leaving many without the help they need. The Baxter Project offers an innovative, animal-assisted early intervention for those who may not respond to conventional approaches. Join us in our mission to build a brighter communities and brighter futures.

The Baxter Project Story

The Baxter Project is an award-winning social enterprise on a mission to set the standard for specialist trauma recovery and wellbeing initiatives. 

Devised by a criminologist with years of experience in the sector and named after his best friend and founding wellbeing dog Baxter, our approach harnesses the innate bond between children and animals to create a supportive environment that promotes trust, communication, and personal development. Initially created to mitigate the risk of young people entering the Criminal Justice System, we quickly realised that our approach can support young people successfully through a wide range of difficulties.  We are excellent at supporting young people who don't respond to traditional support services, engaging the disengaged making our provision one of the few that can support everyone (provided they like dogs).

Our four legged friends help lower defences and bridge communication between the young people and our highly trained practitioners, helping to improve engagement building trusting relationships that allow us to provide trauma-informed care and teach essential coping strategies.

The clip below was created by Coleg Gwent, who we were supporting until funding issues regrettably forced us to disengage.

Our Impact

Since 2019, The Baxter Project has supported hundreds of young people across South Wales, with 77.4% reporting a significantly positive impact.

Some participant feedback:

  • "There was a lot less pressure to open up than in 'traditional' therapy, it felt more relaxed and I found myself revealing so much about my life that I never felt comfortable telling someone before. The people who work for this project made me feel so safe and welcome, I would recommend it to anyone"
  • "The dog is relaxed and I can talk without feeling like I’m being judged even though crazy things have happened"
  • "About how I can talk about my feelings and what’s happend. I used to be sad and not be able to come to school but now I’m better and can help myself when I get anxious. I still talk about what bothers me and can get help from Gethin about what to do or why I have really been sad"

We've also been recognised at the Welsh Social Business Awards, winning Welsh Social Enterprise of the Year reflecting the importance, value and success of our innovative work.

The Challenge

Schools are under increasing financial pressure, having had their budgets reduced year on year, particularly resources for specialised programs.  Traditional wellbeing initiatives are overwhelmed and may not be effective for all students, especially those with complex needs. The Baxter Project offers a unique and successful approach which has become a luxury to schools that need it most, leaving many children without the specialised support they need to thrive.


Our Crowdfunding Goal

We are raising money to 

  • Provide early intervention support to students who may be at risk of falling behind academically or struggling with behavioural issues.
  • Foster resilience, personal growth, and improved wellbeing among vulnerable young people.
  • Help students develop essential coping skills and build trust, which can have long-lasting positive effects on their lives.
  • Support as many pupils as the fundraising allows.

Long-Term Benefits

Investing in these students' wellbeing now can lead to significant long-term benefits, including:

  • Improved academic performance
  • Better social skills and relationships
  • Reduced risk of mental health issues
  • Increased likelihood of positive outcomes in adulthood

Addressing a Critical Need

With school budgets stretched thin, many institutions are forced to cut back on non-essential services. However, wellbeing support is crucial for many students' success. By providing our services to schools that cannot afford them, we're addressing a critical need in the education system and helping to ensure that all students, regardless of their school's financial situation, have access to the support they need to thrive.

School Testimonials

"Children who struggle to regulate their emotions have been observed to display improved communication skills and have gained a great deal from the experience of building positive relationships….Not only do individual children benefit, but the whole school community has also enjoyed having (The Baxter Project) on site."

"As a wellbeing and safeguarding lead of many years’ experience I cannot overstate the impact of their presence in our school setting and how they have significantly improved the outcomes for so many of our young people."

"The Baxter Project has become an incredibly effective part of our wellbeing provision as well as an integral part of our school community.  (The Baxter Project) has succeeded in engaging and enthusing several students who have failed to respond to other wellbeing initiatives."

How You Can Help

Your contribution will directly support our efforts to provide early intervention and therapeutic support to young people in need. By donating to our campaign, you will help us:

  • Expand our provision to schools where support is needed the most
  • Provide essential training and resources for our practitioners
  • Ensure that vulnerable and challenging pupils receive the support they need to succeed

Join Our Mission

Follow our crowdfunding campaign and share it with your networks to help us spread awareness. Any contribution, no matter how small, brings us closer to our goal of empowering youth through The Baxter Project's unique intervention.  

With your support, we can reach more young people before challenges become entrenched. 

Together, we can build brighter futures, one step at a time.1718905670_screenshot_2024-06-20_at_18.45.27.png

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This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Our goal is to extend our support to young people across multiple schools. However, as soon as we raise enough funds to support one school, we will immediately begin our work there. For a donation of £50, we will record and send you a heartfelt message from one of the children your generosity has helped. This way, you can see firsthand the positive impact your contribution is making in their lives.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

For donations of £500 and above, we are offering the opportunity to be recognised on our website and literature. Your generous contribution will be acknowledged, showcasing your support for our mission of empowering vulnerable young people through trauma-informed interventions. By being featured on our platforms, you will be celebrated as a valued partner in creating positive change within our communities.

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