BAB Voices: The Elder Tree

The Elder Tree is a new social enterprise that helps people make, mend and grow. The social enterprise was set up by Sara Gwynn, who currently runs this Bedminster organisation. 

The Elder Tree provides a friendly place to work together, high-quality craft, DIY and gardening tools to use, as well as the opportunity to connect with people who will lend a hand if you want to learn or master a skill.  

Sara was inspired by her own parents growing older and the skills that they still have and can offer to society. She realised it was a good idea to have a space where people with skills and knowledge could teach others how to make things and to progress in their craft making.  

“My parents are getting older, and society is sort of more and more pushing them to one side, and they have lots of skills and lots of talents. And also, I’m completely useless with DIY and crafts, well, not completely useless, and so I have a house full of unfinished things and I though what I needed was someone I could go to when I get stuck to say ‘Help! How do I fix this?’.  

Sara was also inspired by the book ‘Not Dead Yet: A Manifesto for Old Age’ by Julia Neuberger, which added to her idea of creating a social enterprise where people could share skills and learn new things. She got a place on the School for Social Entrepreneurs course which provided her with training and support, as well as some of the funding needed to set up the group. 

“I just gradually pull together all these things. I thought, why don’t I just set up a social enterprise that will get all those things together, all the people who have skills and talent and all the people who want to learn how to make things, how to fix things, how to do drafts or DIY, or gardening eventually, so I set up The Elder Tree.”   



Sara has made good contacts through the BAB partnership, including organisations such as Linkage Bristol and St Monica Trust, who have provided The Elder Tree with a room to run regular workshops at one of their locations, as well as support with the promotion of their activities. 

For a new organisation joining a big partnership can be intimidating. At BAB we welcome any organisation or individual interested in reducing isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol. The BAB partnership has regular meetings were partners are encouraged to share their knowledge of what works, through short presentations and/or during the workshops. They are a great opportunity to network and find out about what is going on in the city and finding out about opportunities for collaboration.  

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