ELDERLY people living in a second council-run sheltered housing scheme have voiced their concerns about cuts to the full-time warden service they fear could leave them isolated if they fall ill.

Residents of Herbert Harvey Court in Coleview worry they will be left without live-in support if Swindon Borough Council adopts a warden sharing model. It's the second complex to raise the issue. People in Charles Macpherson Gardens in Eldene were the first to join campaign to retain their full-time support.

Resident June Skeels said: “At a meeting a while ago, the council reported that because a warden in Wroughton had left a scheme, the warden from a nearby scheme would cover both.

“A member of Tenants Association for Sheltered Housing asked if this was the start of reducing wardens and was reassured this wasn’t the case. Now the system means we are having to share wardens across schemes.”

“Folks are concerned about this.They have more confidence knowing there is someone near to call if they have a problem or if they are ill.”

When Charles Macpherson Gardens residents highlighted their worry residents Francis Smith said: "The warden needs to go in and see people to check on them, you can’t always do it on a phone call. If someone was to say have a stroke here, they may not be able to get the help.”

Swindon Acorn is campaigning for the move to be reversed after being contacted by people in the schemes. Member Jon Timbrell said: “What we are seeing is a widely and deeply felt anger amongst sheltered housing residents and a conviction that cuts to warden provision are unpopular, dangerous and imposed on residents despite their repeated and clear rejection of the proposals. We are hearing from people who are not simply fearing what might happen, but have already been left in dangerous and unacceptable situations. We have been contacted about incidents ranging from unanswered medical emergencies to flooded flats and serious security risks.”

“The council say these cuts shouldn’t affect residents, but we are hearing a very different story from the tenants themselves, and it’s time the council did the right thing, listened to their tenants, reverse these unpopular and dangerous cuts and reinstate a full-time warden in every local sheltered housing scheme.”

The borough declined to comment this week but said previously: “The key components of the service remain, such as daily weekday calls, emergency cover when staff are not on site, health safety checks, etc.

“Prior to the implementation of the review officers visited every sheltered housing scheme, collating feedback and have updated our tenants consultative group TASH about the progress of the review.”

“It has been agreed that TASH and Tenants Security Panel will receive regular feedback and we have set up a process whereby we can be notified of specific concerns or enquires relating to the review.”

“We have never had a service whereby residential staff were on duty 24/7. Although there is a perception that this was the case but we are committed to supporting our most vulnerable residents and will continue to provide a weekday call to them if requested. We would never put residents in a less safe position and all our residents have access to our Homeline service 24hrs a day, seven days a week, when sheltered staff are not working in the building. The Homeline service has been in operation for many years and has supported residents when sheltered housing officers are not on duty.

“This was the case prior to these changes – for example at weekends, when staff are on leave, training, etc.”