The Big Chill: How will you keep warm in Soho this winter?

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By SohoLisa | Saturday, October 09, 2010, 15:25

Winter is upon us once again and it’s time to prepare ourselves

for the cold winter months ahead. We in Soho may not see much snow in the city,

but with the clocks going back on 31 October, it’s time to prepare for the big


Soho can’t claim to have a wealth of businesses that offer domestic and

household services, we rather specialise in the more leisurely pursuits in

life, like bars, restaurants and shopping, but there are some out there, (even

if you do have to look further afield) who can help set you on the right track

for the coldest season.

Now might be a good time to check that your heating systems are all in good

working order, to avoid the dreaded, ‘cold shower syndrome’ and to ensure you

won’t be sleeping with 10 hot water bottles and copious layers of clothing if

the heating breaks down.

Your one-stop-shop business for a complete household overhaul, has to be MPL

Maintenance, who offer everything from plumbing to flooring installation and

everything else in-between it seems! These guys can come to your home and

finish those jobs that need doing and ensure your winter proof this winter.

These guys are widely used in Soho and their clients include anything from

restaurants to betting shops and offices to homes. 

Another good point

of call is Call 4 Heat

in Great Russell Street, Camden. They do not levy a call

out charge and offer free telephone advice in the event of an emergency and

prices are all listed on the website, do you’ll have a good idea of how much

things will cost, should you need their services.

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky few to have a working log fire in your home to

stave off the shivers this winter. If so, you could have your very own Mary

Poppins-cor blimey guv’nor moment with professional chimney sweeps, M.Dole Chimney

Sweeps and Flue Liners , or even have a fireplace or stove fitted! Just don’t expect Dick Van Dyke to turn

up at your door.....

Another good idea would be to check if you are eligible for any help from the

council or other schemes, to help pay for the cost of winter proofing your

home. The Warm Front

scheme provides a package of

insulation and heating improvements up to the value of £3,500. It is a

Government funded initiative and the scheme is managed by Eaga. You may qualify

if you are in receipt of a means tested benefit and own or privately rent your

home. For further information or to apply contact Warm Front on 0800 316 2805.

Westminster Emergency Heating Assistance

provides quick repairs or improvements to heating systems between October and

April each year. Assistance is only available to over 60's who are owner

occupiers or tenants with a full repairing obligation, as landlords are

normally legally required to maintain heating systems. Typical repairs are, gas

fires, boilers and storage heaters. To apply call Westminster Home Improvement

Agency 020 7641 6161.

Utility Company Grants are available from the

major utility companies towards loft and cavity wall insulation. For those over

70 or in receipt of a benefit, the grant is normally 100%. For those under

70 and not claiming any benefits, discounts are still available and most should

only have to pay from £100 for loft and from £100 for cavity

wall insulation. This equates to a discount of around 75% off the normal price.

Ask your utility company if they have any exclusive deals or contact the London

ESTAC on 0800 512 012 for further information.

The Warmth and Comfort

scheme is the decent homes sub regional grant for providing heating and

insulation measures to vulnerable owner occupiers. It can provide gas central

heating, repairs to existing systems, draught-proofing, plus loft, hot water

tank and cavity wall insulation. Check on the council website to find out

details as they will be published later when the scheme begins.

It’s not just your home may need to be winter-proofed; to help prevent you

having a miserable winter with a cold, why not take advantage of the

free flu jab service that NHS Westminster is offering this

year. Everyone aged 65 and over is offered the jab for free, as are younger

people with long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma and

for the first time this year, all pregnant women are entitled to receive the

flu jab.

For more information, ask your GP, practice nurse or

pharmacist about the vaccination or see

for select pharmacies which are offering the jab.

Alternatively, if you are not eligible for the free vaccine, then you could pay

to protect yourself from the flu if you think you may need to. Bowling on Wardour Street has long been a favourite pharmacy of mine and the in-house

Doctor service they provide from 1pm every day is a great shout if you’re

needing to make an appointment and are unable to with your own GP. The

appointment costs £40 a visit and the prescriptions can be filled on site.

If you prefer an all-natural, organic approach to your medication, then you can

do no wrong with The Organic Pharmacy on Great Marlborough Street. With stores all over London and even Los Angeles,

The Organic Pharmacy has something to sooth all ailments. Try their Sneeze Away

Tincture or the Propolis and Honey Linctus

to soothe sore throats and stave off those winter nasties.

If you’d rather keep warm this winter from the inside out,

then get yourself to The Stockpot

on Old Compton Street for tasty, filling comfort food to keep you nice and toasty.

If you have any ideas or top tips or know of any other schemes

offering help and advice for those that need it, let us know and whatever you

do this winter, keep warm!



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