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Start as You Mean to Go On

Growing Old Disgracefully began in 1988 as a course designed for older women. At that time, the organisation was operating on a small scale and was based at The Hen House, a women’s holiday and study centre. From delivering just one course in 1988, Growing Old Disgracefully proved popular with many women and grew rapidly. By 1991, we were offering six different courses for those who wanted to try something a little different!

A Life in Print

Many of those original course participants became friends and stayed in contact with one another. Six of those called themselves The Hen Co-op and decided to embody the ideas gained during the course in a brand-new book. That book, titled Growing Old Disgracefully, was first published in 1993 and generated a great deal of interest from women all over the UK and beyond. Following the success of the first book, the same six women came together to write and publish a second book: Disgracefully Yours.

Did You Know? You can join an existing group or even create your own, just like The Hen Co-op did all those years ago. Learn more.

Moving Forwards

These books, alongside Growing Old Disgracefully’s increasingly popular courses and group sessions, caused ripples right across the country. Women who identified with the book’s philosophy of seizing life and new opportunities created a new network of women throughout the United Kingdom. Soon, this network spread further afield and eventually incorporated Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

Since then, hundreds of women have benefitted from membership of the Growing Old Disgracefully network. They have found not only fantastic events and activities but also the opportunity to foster new friendships, gain support and share in a lot of laughter!

Today, we’re proud to continue making the original idea of Growing Old Disgracefully a reality for women everywhere. To learn more about our aims and the services we offer, please visit our About Us page. If you would like to get in touch with our team, simply fill in the form here. We would love to hear from you.

Our Timeline

  • 1988 – Growing Old Disgracefully begins life at The Hen House.
  • 1988-90 – The group delivers a course for older women.
  • 1991 – The organisation grows and now offers 3 different courses.
  • 1993 – The Hen Co-op get together and publish their first book, Growing Old Disgracefully.
  • 1996 – Those same women write and publish Disgracefully Yours.
  • 1996-Present – Women all over the globe have created a network where they can meet, try new activities, share experiences and challenge the stereotypes of older women.

“We’re proud of our long history empowering women to try new things and make new friends.”