A new telephone helpline offering vital advice for older people in Croydon, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth has been launched.

The First Contact helpline on 0845 600 1090 is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.

Residents can seek advice on benefits and money matters, help at home, health problems and transport.

The elderly are welcome to ring the helpline, as are their families, friends and carers. They will be able to speak to experienced advisers, who can answer queries over the phone, send out information and direct callers to other relevant services.

The helpline is the joint initiative from Age Concerns Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth, and Age UK Croydon.

Margaret Reynolds, the project co-ordinator, from Richmond said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of older people who need help with money worries and problems over their health and care.

“This single new helpline for older people in south and west London will enable us to extend our current opening hours and offer high-quality information and advice to more people.”