Bristol City Elders

Based upon the Global Elders project set up by Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel, we have set up a group of City Elders, here in Bristol. Although this project is the first of its kind in the world under the banner of the Global Elders, in reality, it builds upon the tradtion of eldership which is seen in many communities the world over. 

However, western societies seem to be turning their back on the idea of eldership - when people retire they are given a bus pass and largely expected to sit back and relax.  However, they have a lifetime of wisdom and experience to share and a lifetime of mistakes to learn from. 

The Bristol City Elders project has developed a set of values, which is about the long term leadership of the city. But they need your help to invite more people to become recognised as elders as well as to engage with 'youngers' who can benefit from that experience, and vice versa. for more information. 

We would like to roll out the idea of 'eldership' to all areas of Bristol, to identify those people in your area who can offer community leadership that will help to transofrm the relationship between generations. 

A series of 'meet the elders' workshops would be held to discuss the idea of eldership, as well as find the people in communities all over Bristol who would inspire a new generation of community leaders. This process would discover, document and build from the existing resources in a community, offering training and support to cross generational groups who would pick projects that they would like to work on together. 

The projects would be funded through links to local businesses who would sponsor individual projects in their local area, ensuring an enduring link between commerce and civil society.

Why the contribution is important

Bristol is an increasingly divided city - the wealth and health gap is widening. It  is also noticeable that the gap between generations is growing, with young people's respect for their elders at an all time low. Older people are increasingly fearful, of crime and antisocial behaviour as well as technology and the increasing pace of change in society. 

We believe that the Bristol City Elders can help bridge the gap, reasserting the role of older people as that of community leaders, learning from youngers as well as guiding them to success. By working together, generations can recognise the value of the other. 

by user706489 on December 05, 2013 at 10:01AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 47 votes


  • Posted by user111016 December 05, 2013 at 12:02

    Nice idea; what about a group of youngers as well? 'Young people's respect for their elders' is mentioned, but what about our respect for young people? In my experience people from all age ranges have insights to contribute.

    I do like the idea though of getting distinct generational voices to contribute their ideas and ability to organise though. Maybe somebody has the energy to organise a under 20s council? A 20somethings council? Middle aged council...
  • Posted by user706489 December 09, 2013 at 11:45

    Yes, we also have a supporting group of 'youngers' as you are quite right about everyone being able learn from each other. The Elders recognised this straight away and hence they talk about companionship - rather than mentoring.
  • Posted by user383307 December 09, 2013 at 12:45

    Great idea and a chance to focus on equality across the city as an over-arching theme.
  • Posted by user959757 December 09, 2013 at 13:19

    I love the idea of Elders, constant and caring throughout the city at all times in all situations. Once an Elder, always and Elder. Elders would feed into the concept that every single citizen of Bristol has a contribution to make, and that a sustainable city is one where all 400,000+ of us feel that we are enabled to make that contribution. Elders are those who only wish to live in service to the community and the greater good of all. Elders ensure inclusion and equality by supporting people in being part of a collaborative society where we all feel an obligation to be the best we are able to be - in order for Bristol to be the best it can possibly be.
  • Posted by user825335 December 09, 2013 at 19:20

    The concept of eldership pervades our everyday professional and personal lives. The guidance of an elder is as invaluable to a legal trainee, business graduate or tradesman as it is to a new or expectant mother.

    Harnessing the experience of Bristol's elders on a macro scale is a brilliant way to galvanise an increasingly divided city.
  • Posted by user470534 December 09, 2013 at 21:35

    Indigenous people in N.America are governed by a Council of Elders, (usually women it has to be said), who make all their decisions based on the need to protect the tribe for the next seven generations. If we had this kind of long term policy making in the city as well as in the country, we would not be facing the oncoming catastrophe that is climate change, and with more wisdom we would not have fallen into the economic crisis we are now in.
  • Posted by user602712 December 10, 2013 at 09:54

    In spite of what people may think, us baby boomers do have something to offer - an overview, human experience in many different contexts and still a role to play in the community, to name but a few. We want to continue our involvement in society and to help bring people together who may not otherwise and to keep the City's green flags flying high building in sustainability at many levels.
  • Posted by user708575 December 10, 2013 at 14:31

    Great to see the movement gathering speed and also committed to working with and hearing from the 'youngers'.
  • Posted by user122507 December 20, 2013 at 18:11

    Would the Elders be from all walks of life? The last thing Bristol needs is another group of unelected pale males sticking the oar in. A group of wise elders from really diverse sections of the community would be great though!
  • Posted by user251846 January 15, 2014 at 13:55

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