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.

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.


A message from Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.


One of my key duties as Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex is to put together the strategic plan for the policing of our county in the interests of the public.For me, safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success and well being for all.

The new Police and Crime Plan is relevant to all our lives. During my election campaign and since becoming PCC, I have listened to the people of our county. They are clear that more local, visible and accessible policing, and being tough on Anti-Social Behaviour are vitally important. This was reinforced at my first public meeting as PCC, held in Grays, where two Thurrock mothers made powerful and courageous comments about the impact of ASB on their families. These are the first two priorities in the new Plan, and mark a commitment to refocus some police resources in these important areas.

Some priorities build on the existing Police and Crime Plan, such as being tough on domestic abuse and improving the safety of our roads. Two further priorities highlight crucial work on increasingly important challenges: reversing the trend in serious violence, and tackling gangs and organised crime.

Finally, protecting children and vulnerable people will be a core priority. This will involve the police bringing criminals to justice and a drive to prevent crime and abuse from happening in the first place.

I want to hear your views. During September and early October 2016, I will be seeking your thoughts on the draft Police and Crime Plan through meetings, online engagement, and a dedicated address for correspondence.

Your insights will be taken into consideration as the Police and Crime Plan is developed further, so please take part in the online survey, attend one of our public meetings, or contact me with your thoughts at the dedicated email address.
Online survey

You can also write to:
Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex
3 Hoffmanns Way
Essex CM1 1GU

The engagement process for the new Police and Crime Plan will end on October 7, 2016. An updated Police and Crime Plan will be taken to the Police and Crime Panel for their final comments at the end of October. It is anticipated that the new Police and Crime Plan for Essex will come into effect in early November 2016.
The full schedule of PCC public meetings can be seen here:

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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