WHEN he left school, Harry Gardner from Bowbridge found that college wasn’t for him and started working on a voluntary basis. Now, after helping a number of local charities, the 18-year-old is gaining valuable experience as an Apprentice Fundraiser for the Door Youth Project.

Harry says: “I started volunteering with the RSPCA in Lansdown, then worked as a youth co-ordinator for Transition Stroud, and moved on to Access Bike, which provides bikes for disadvantaged young people.

“From there I helped set up a charity shop, Up Up and Away, in George Street. And when a friend suggested I try The Door I applied for an apprenticeship and have now been working with them for over a year.”

As an apprentice, Harry gets some funding and has been able to add to his already-extensive cv of voluntary work. He says: “At the Door I do all sorts of bits and pieces, predominantly fundraising events and social media, but I also help with Synergy, the youth forum. My apprenticeship comes to an end in a few months, and I’m not sure what I’ll do after that, but I know I love working with people.”

Volunteers at The Door can now receive accreditation for their work, with funding from Stroud District Council and the Stroud District Youth Council.

Harry says: “Being able to provide this accreditation is so important: not only does it value young people but it also makes them more employable, and only recently the first participant went on to gain employment after completing the award.”

Brendan Conboy, Chief Executive of The Door, added: “Trying to find a job is not easy but for a young person without any experience it is almost impossible. Just over a year ago we employed Harry as our fundraising apprentice, taking him on because of his experience in volunteering, and he’s made a vast difference to our organisation.”