Sheltered housing residents have been given a new trial method of contacting Swindon Borough Council to get issues sorted.

Residents will be able to access council services without having to leave the comfort of their own home as the local authority has installed a computer self-service machine.

Council-run Harold Thorpe Gardens has been chosen as the initial recipient of this trial equipment on a temporary basis

With this new computer, residents will be able to report housing repairs, check their accounts and access information on the council website.

It is hoped that the communal machine will help those who struggle to access council services online.

After it was put in place, many of the people living at Harold Thorpe Gardens were given a hands-on demonstration on how to use the machine and access information.

If the trial is successful, more machines will be installed at other council-run properties across the borough.

Lesley Pearce, a resident who lives at Harold Thorpe Gardens, has welcomed the trial believing it will be a big help to people.

He said: “It’ll be a lot easier. I will use it, when I’ve got an issue, if I need a repair. The staff are nearby so they’ll be helpful.

“It’s an easy thing, if everyone uses it, it’ll be a good thing.”

Councillor Janine Howarth, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “This is the first self-service machine installed in sheltered accommodation and if it’s successful we’ll roll out more.

“Installing these machines will allow people to not feel so isolated, and allow those who don’t have smart phones or tablets to access the council’s services.

“While a lot of our services are online, this machine is intended to help make the process easier. However, residents will still be able to phone up and speak to staff if they need to or prefer to.”

Council-run sheltered housing is available to anyone over the age of 60, or anyone over the age of 50 who receives disability living allowance."

There are over 50 sheltered housing schemes throughout Swindon that are run by the council.

They provide individual self-contained flats, bungalows or studio flats, carpeted and lit internal corridors, fully furnished communal lounges, central heating, communal laundries, 24-hour emergency alarm cover, and a sheltered housing officer or scheme manager.