'What is really rewarding is seeing young people turn their lives around' - long serving youth worker wins award (From Haringey Independent)
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Tottenham youth worker Berkeley Gardner recognised for 30 years of service
A youth worker known to kids as 'Uncle Berks' received recognition for almost 30 years of service in the community at a ceremony last night.
Berkeley Gardner has been working in youth services in Tottenham for 28 years and received the Keystone Gold Award from charity London Youth.
The award also recognised his tireless work with other voluntary organisations in the community such as the People World’s Carnival Band, for which he is Community Liaison Officer.
The 62-year-old said: “It’s really nice to be recognised and hopefully it will show young people what they can achieve.
“It isn’t the main reason I started to work with young people. What really drove me was the idea that I could make a difference in their lives.
“What is really rewarding and satisfying is working with young people and seeing them turn their lives around.
“I think the work we did developing the Bruce Grove community centre and building that programme up was one of the things I am most proud of. But there is still a lot of work to do in the area.”
Uncle Berks, as he is known to people in Tottenham, retired from Haringey Youth Service two years ago but has been involved with other youth projects at the Old Brewery in High Road, Tottenham.
During the Olympic Torch Relay last year his offices were visited by The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Mr Gardener said: “That was really fantastic. They were really interested in the work we were doing with young people in the community and it was great to have them here.”
London Youth is a charity which supports a network of more than 400 community youth organisations across the capital.
Awards were presented to people for their long service in projects and to young people who the charity feels could be the community leaders of the future.