About Us


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.


Identity Theft and Identity Fraud


Your identity and personal information are valuable so it’s important to protect them.

Criminals can use your personal details to open bank accounts and get credit cards, passports and driving licences in your name.

This is known as identity crime.

Identity theft and identity fraud are two types of identity crime.

Identity theft is when someone gains enough information about an identity (e.g, name, date of birth, address) to commit identity fraud. It’s the misappropriation of the identify of another person without their knowledge or consent.

Identity Fraud

Identity fraud occurs when a stolen identity is used to gain goods or services by deception e.g, open a bank account, gain benefits or apply for credit cards.

Criminals commit identity theft by stealing personal information, usually from documents they find in the rubbish.

A stolen identity can result in identity fraud which can affect your personal finances and chances of getting a loan, credit card or mortgage.

Bank and credit cards

If any of your cards are lost or stolen, cancel them straight away and never give card details or personal information over the phone or on the internet when other people can see or hear.

Don’t carry cards unnecessarily. If you don’t need them, leave them in a safe place.

If your driving licence is lost or stolen, contact the issuing organisation straight away.

Get in the habit of checking your bank statements. If you spot any transactions you didn’t expect, contact the company concerned.

Destroy unwanted documents using a shredder. Don’t throw away bills, bank statements, receipts or unwanted post in your name without shredding it first.

Keep personal information somewhere safe like a lockable drawer or cupboard.

Passwords and PINs

Keep passwords safe and don’t store them anywhere that means they may be stolen such as your purse or on your mobile phone.

Try not to use the same password for more than one account.

Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly even if they claim to be from your bank or the police. Take a phone number and call them back to make sure they are genuine. Remember a bank will never ask for your PIN or your whole password.
Sent by Kevin Blake, Essex Watch Liaison Officer, to all of Essex

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!


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


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!


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.


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.


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