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What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘grandparent’? If it’s a little old lady knitting in a rocking chair, then you might want to think again. These days you’re as likely to see an octogenarian tweeting from her iPad as casting off her purl stitch.

Gransnet, the social networking site for the over 50s (don’t let the name fool you – all older people male or female, grandparent, parent or not are welcome to join us!), launched in 2011 and is now the largest social networking site for older people in the country. New members have been joining every day for the past 2 years, to talk about everything from politics to memories, books to relationships, snorkelling to, OK, yes, knitting. In 2013 came the launch of Gransnet Local, a network of sites across the country run by people aged 50-plus, offering listings of activities and events; a directory of services, from health centres to plumbers; forums for discussion of local issues; and the possibility of meeting up.

One of the joys of the internet is that no one has to know what you look like. The great thing about the web is that prejudices – about someone who has a disability, or is over 50 and living alone – don’t have to get in the way of who you are. Gransnetters value this anonymity. Even so, it quickly became apparent that many of them do want to meet offline, particularly once they’ve made friends. Members have taken it upon themselves to organise lunches and visit each other, including in hospital; some have even holidayed together.

Gransnet Local Colchester is the local site covering the whole CO postcode area and is thriving with new groups, businesses and events being added each day. Discussions have started on the local forums and a monthly newsletter is being sent out. Gransnet Local Colchester also has Facebook and Twitter pages for those wishing to take social networking for the over 50s one step further.

We also have a dedicated editor for Mersea Island who can be contacted on gransnetmersea@gmail.com

It is free to join and free to add to the local website listings, whether it’s to tell everyone about your fantastic hairdresser or inviting us all to your jumble sale. There is also the opportunity for local businesses to advertise to their target market or to offer promotions or competitions.

We want to hear from you if you have something to add to our local Gransnet community.

 

Fraud isn’t just a Scam, it’s a Crime.

page-0A Community Guide has been produced by  the Serious Crime Directorate in Kent and Essex.

Please share this guide as widely as possible within your community to provide valuable advice and support to help protect the most vulnerable within our communities and prevent them from becoming victims of crime.

Fraud not just a scam but a crime leaflet 

Age UK Colchester moves and changes name.

local care

A charity which acts as a life-line for elderly people is moving to a new base and re-branding.

Age UK Colchester will now be known as Age Concern Colchester and will work from the Colchester Community Voluntary Services building in Winsley’s House, High Street, Colchester after agreeing to take on five rooms on the first floor of the building.

Offices will be on the first floor, special arrangements have been made to see clients, where necessary, on the ground floor:

All of the charity’s services which it offers to pensioners including benefits assistance, information and advice, befriending and social activities will continue as normal from the new address.

To contact the charity, phone the original number of 01206 368420

Colchester Castle and Castle Park — colchesterlife.

As this blog nears it’s end date, I realised had missed out on one of Colchester’s finest spaces and most beloved and well knowing buildings – Colchester Castle it’s lush surrounding park. Most Colcestrians know that the Norman keep is the largest in Europe or that it’s built on the site that Boudicca died however probably […]

via Colchester Castle and Castle Park — colchesterlife.

Colchester Women set to tackle the Grand Canyon Trek for Alzheimer’s Society!

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Lauren Goddard and Hayley Newell, from Colchester, will join the fight against dementia in March 2017, as they don their walking boots to trek the magnificent Grand Canyon.

Lauren and Hayley hope to raise over £7,000 for Alzheimer’s Society by taking part in the five day trek starting on 26 March 2017. This trek inside one of the most famous Canyons in the world, also passes some spectacular landscapes, breath-taking waterfalls, pools of turquoise blue and learning from our hosts the Native American Reservation. This tough challenge will help the UK’s leading dementia charity continue its vital work to support the 800,000 people currently living with the condition.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

‘We are delighted that Lauren and Hayley are giving their time to support Alzheimer’s Society. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like Lauren and Hayley to help us continue our vital work. Please back Lauren and Hayley in their fundraising efforts so that Alzheimer’s Society can continue leading the fight against dementia.’
To sponsor them please visit justgiving.com/Lauren-Goddard-2017Trek

Alzheimer’s Society has a fantastic range of events both in the UK and abroad. To find out more, please visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/events or call  0870 417 0192.

FirstSite Andy Warhol Exhibit – A Big Success

colchesterlife.

Yesterday evening I anticipated spending a quiet evening in, watching Netflix and waiting for pay day. My plans were changed when a flyer arrived inviting ME, yes ME to an Andy Warhol exhibit at FirstSite. What a privilege!

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Now I write this as someone who has always defended FirstSite as a place with massive potential and felt the huge criticisms missed the foresight that the venue had so much unfulfilled possibility. Last night, I can confirm it has stepped over the line into the realm of success. I can say that as someone who’s expertise in the field of modern art includes such accreditations as having seen a few programs on BBC4 and a late night Wikipedia session on Andy Warhol.

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I didn’t expect actual real Andy Warhol pieces, so I was rather flawed when I realised, I was viewing an exhibition of actual real Andy Warhol, in Colchester FirstSite. The event itself…

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The Benefits of Houseplants

Guest Post by Fiona Wray, a Colchester based homeopath and co-owner of Rather Lovely Organic Skincare and Natural Home Fragrancing.

Houseplants

People of a certain age (well those over 50, so that’s us) according to a recent article in the national press, can apparently teach the younger generation a thing or two. Not about about Facebook or Twitter or Instagram obviously, but about houseplants – the latest craze amongst Generation Rent.

I don’t know about you but I was bought up with houseplants. Cut flowers, unless they came from the garden, were rarely in evidence and since buying my first home 32 years ago I’ve always made sure to have at least one plant in every room. Instinctively it just felt good. There are some plants that I’ve had for such a long time that I practically count them as one of the family and I wouldn’t be without the aloe vera plant an aunt gave me almost 20 years ago which sits on the kitchen windowsill and is such an effective treatment for minor burns.

With rising house prices causing an increase in rentals it seems that houseplants have become the trendy way for tenants to make their mark on a property. But apart from their good looks and in many cases, structural beauty, evidence shows that houseplants can positively impact on our health. They purify our living environments by removing harmful gases released by commercial fragrance products such as air freshener sprays, plug-ins, reed diffusers and scented candles, and help reduce the negative impact of radiation from the myriad devices that we all now rely upon.

As a practicing homoeopath I advise any clients suffering with allergies, asthma and other respiratory complaints, sleep disturbances, headaches and migraine, and depression, to remove all chemical fragrance products from their homes and cars. This simple measure is often enough in itself to lead to positive changes in their symptoms but if they also add house plants into the equation, then improvements can be even more noticeable.

But if you like a welcoming aroma without the downside, it’s still possible to fragrance your home healthily using products made with pure essential oils rather than fragrance oils. Essential oils are distilled from plants, not made in a lab and as such they do not release formaldehyde into the atmosphere. They have a subtle scent that is never overpowering and many also have the additional benefit of antiviral properties. So for health and well-being a combination of essential oil products and houseplants is definitely the way to go.

Whilst Generation Rent spend their time showing off their houseplants on Pinterest we can simply get on with enjoying and benefiting from ours in our own quieter way.

Fiona Wray is a Colchester based homeopath and co-owner of Rather Lovely Organic Skincare and Natural Home Fragrancing

www.ratherlovely.co.uk

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The Private Sector Housing team at Colchester Borough Council

The Private Sector Housing team at Colchester Borough Council help people who own their own home or rent their home from a private landlord or Housing Association to ensure that home is safe and suited to their needs.

If a private landlord or Housing Association is not maintaining a property or carrying out necessary repairs, we may be able to help. The tenant should give their landlord a chance to rectify any problems, but if they feel that they are not being addressed, they can contact the team on 01206 282581. We will contact the landlord and arrange to inspect the property if appropriate. We would identify any defects or repairs with the property that may cause health and safety hazards. We will then liaise with the landlord or agent to ensure that the works needed to remove those health and safety hazards are completed. For example, this may be to resolve issues of damp and mould, lack of adequate heating or hot water, unsafe stairs or steps, unsafe electrics or poorly designed bathrooms or kitchens and a range of other issues.

If a disabled or elderly person is finding it difficult to maintain their independence living at home we may be able to help. For example, if someone is finding it difficult to manage the stairs or any external steps, or to get in and out of the property, to use their bathroom safely or to access the community then we may be able to assist in funding appropriate adaptations through a Disabled Facilities Grant. The first step is for an Occupational Therapist from Essex County Social Care to make an assessment of the person’s needs. If they consider that major adaptations are needed they will make a referral to us. If minor aids or adaptations are needed they will arrange for these – for example hand rails, grab rails or bathing aids. Contact them on Tel 0345 603 7630.

Disabled Facilities Grants are means tested, so depending on how much money the person has in income and savings, they may have to contribute to the cost of the works. However, if the person is in receipt of a low income or has limited savings or is in receipt of a means tested benefit such as Housing Benefit or Guaranteed Pension Credit then they would not have to pay towards the work. We would devise a specification of works needed and arrange for contractors to price this and help the person to complete the application paperwork. The works would be completed and the contractor would be paid by the Council.

These are just the main services offered by the team. There are a range of other ways in which we may also be able to assist with housing conditions and housing related problems. If we are unable to help we should be able to direct you to other services within the Council or externally that may be able to. Please call 01206 282581 and ask to speak to the Duty Private Sector Housing Officer or email housing.private@colchester.gov.uk

 

The Animal Services team may also be of interest to you. We provide pest control treatments for pests such as rats and mice, fleas, wasps, cockroaches etc. We can also advise on pest prevention to prevent pests coming back, there are reduced fees for people in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit. We also deal with stray dogs and offer a free dog micro chipping service. All dog owners are required to have their dogs microchipped from April 2016 when new rules come into effect. We can visit people in their home and complete this free of charge. Call 01206 282581 to arrange for either of these services.”