People living in council-run sheltered housing schemes have said they feel lonely and isolated since changes to the level of support were brought in.

But despite vocal protests most of Swindon's 1,083 sheltered housing residents do need feel they’ve been affected by the loss of full-time wardens.

Members of Swindon Borough Council’s Conservative cabinet will meet on Wednesday to discuss recommendations to continue with the current policy of having small teams of officers look after a number of schemes between them, albeit with increased numbers of officers.

The policy was brought in earlier this year replacing individual wardens dedicated to a single scheme, and sometimes living on site. When it was changed a review was promised, and as part of that residents’ views were sought.

The summary of that consultation said 163 people were spoken to in group sessions, 194 in individual visits and three gave their views by email - a total of 360, 33 per cent.

The report says: “There were often comments related to loneliness and isolation, feeling unsupported, security concerns and a lack of availability of the sheltered housing officers. In addition, it is clear that on site communication needs to be improved and last-minute changes to scheduled attendance at particular schemes must be avoided.

“Residents also told the council that they are struggling to report their repairs, some are not ready for online reporting and repairs reporting is a valued service that they wish their housing officer either to report for them or help them to manage.”

But the survey shows 56 per cent were directly affected by the changes, and two-thirds had not had to call the 24hour Homeline support service.

Slightly over half would not be in favour of an increase in service charge of nearly £3,675 a year the council says would be needed to reinstate each scheme with a dedicated officer.

A survey of the officers found most felt they were able to carry out personal welfare calls and reporting concerns about residents who weren’t coping. But a majority said they struggled to manage the cleaning contractors and half said they felt less effective at helping residents with an emergency.

Some residents called for a public meeting. When the council did not arrange one, they held their own and were disappointed that no officers or senior councillors attended.