Advice, information and guidance on issues affecting lesbian and gay life, from civil partnerships and parenting to housing and health, is now available free of charge.

Gay equality organisation Stonewall has launched a new free telephone service.

The number to call is 08000 50 20 20.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, this new service responds to a growth in demand for gay-specific advice and information about the status of lesbian, bisexual and gay people.

Stonewall said it already receives more than 400 phone enquiries every month and their website received 1.2 million hits in 2007.

The organisation’s chief executive, Ben Summerskill, said:

“Stonewall has successfully lobbied for major legal changes in recent years that benefit and protect lesbian and gay people in so many ways.

“This means the rights we enjoy today are very new and people often want to clarify where they stand.

“Further expanding our info service is part of Stonewall’s commitment to educate people around the new legal status of Britain’s 3.6 million gay people.”

The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers can get details of local lesbian and gay services and support groups in their area, historical facts, topical issues, research and details of how to get more involved with Stonewall’s work.

“Service providers are invited to use the Infoline for advice around improving services for lesbian, gay and bisexual service users,” Stonewall said in a statement.

“The Infoline complements existing services such as local switchboards, Stonewall Housing and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group which advise callers on specific lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.

“Such services can expect to receive increased referrals as a result.”

Information Officer Helen Ward, who runs the service, added:

“We can also point you in the right direction for legal advice, and give out facts and guidance on all issues affecting lesbian and gay life – from civil partnerships and parenting to housing and health as well as everything in between.

“In addition, we’ll be able to refer callers to hundreds of other specialist and regional organisations who can help too.”

The helpline on 08000 50 20 20 will complement Stonewall’s online Info Service at info@stonewall.org.uk