Grandmas are set to swap their hairnets for the internet as the website Gransnet launches two Sussex sites.

The silver surfers are now able to log on to the Brighton and Hove and Worthing versions of the online community for the over-50s, which discusses topics as diverse as sex and suicide.

Anna Cronin, local editor for the two sites which went live this week, said: “It’s for sociable people and lonely people too, who want to meet people, do things and discuss subjects – some serious, such as how to deal with adult children with mental health problems, and some frivolous, like the post I read recently on Gransnet from a woman whose friend discovered her husband was being unfaithful because she realised that someone was darning his socks.”

Mrs Cronin, 61, a divorced mother-of-three who moved to Worthing from Brighton last year, added: “I wanted to be editor because I’m somebody who’s always online – I sit there in the evenings with the TV on and my laptop open, on Facebook and Twitter.

“I discovered Gransnet when it launched a couple of years ago, because it coincided with the birth of my first grandchild, and it’s got so much on it. “On a local site, you can discuss local topics, such as the new 20mph speed limit in Brighton – and men are welcome too.”

Gransnet has recruited 20 local editors across the country to launch its sites, which will contain information about events, classes, volunteering opportunities and other activities.

Around 7.5million people in Britain have never been online, according to Ofcom, and two fifths of them are over 75.

Gransnet editor Geraldine Bedell said: “Our members have already started meeting up of their own accord and local sites will make it that much easier.”

And Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s digital champion, said she hoped the launch would give people an incentive to people to find out what’s happening locally and connect.

She said: “Many older people are still not online, and that can leave them potentially isolated. “I hope people will take the friendship and support that Gransnet already offers into a wider community.”

Famous contributors to Gransnet include the author Kathy Lette, TV presenter Judy Finnegan and actor Timothy Spall.

Current topics under discussion on the Brighton and Hove forum include the best place to put visiting family and whether the horse meat scandal has made people consider vegetarian options.

Mrs Cronin, who works part-time in a doctors’ surgery in Lancing, added: “I’m arranging coffee mornings on the local sites at the moment so that people can also meet in the flesh as well as online.”

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