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News Report Page 9 of 11
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MKM opens new branch in Birkenhead creating 13 new jobs!

MKM Building Supplies, the UK's largest independent builder's merchant is delighted to be opening its 73rd branch in Birkenhead next week (20 July), the 1st since the Covid-19 crisis and creating 13 much needed jobs in the area. MKM Birkenhead is a spacious, new build facility situated on a 2-acre site in a great location at New Chester Road, Birkenhead. The branch is designed to be a one-stop shop for both local building trade and retail customers, offering a wealth of expertise and an extensive range of products. The launch of the branch which been delayed for several months due to the national lockdown, opens under the management of an experienced team and with social distancing measures in place to ensure staff and customer safety. MKM Birkenhead will showcase a wide range of building essentials including plumbing and heating, joinery, under floor heating, brick matching and take off service. The branch will also feature a stunning kitchen and bathroom showroom and landscaping display, offering free designs and consultations to help customers get their projects off to a great start.

MKM Birkenhead is headed up by Branch Directors, Chris Winskill and Phil Morris, who are both delighted to finally open the doors for business. Chris commented:- "The new team is really excited about opening up. We do have more challenges than usual for a new branch and are doing things differently, but I believe that if we get it right from the start then we can turn these challenging times around into something more positive, starting with 13 new jobs created in the local area at a time we need them most. We are starting with an extremely experienced team, between us with over 120 years in merchanting. We are hoping to grow this team in time, as we build our relationships with our customers and the community."

Chris has worked in merchanting, DIY and home improvement for 17 years in various management roles. Having started in the business at the age of 16, he has worked his way up to Branch Director. Phil Morris, who has over 25 years experience working with local trade in The Wirral commented:- "Our goal is to offer exceptional customer service to our local trades people and retail customers alike. This has been a tough time for trade and our team is looking forward to welcoming customers and supporting their projects and installations. Our staff and customer's safety has been paramount in planning for our opening and I have been really impressed by how the whole team has pulled together to prepare for the launch of our new branch."

David Kilburn, CEO MKM Building Supplies Ltd commented:- "The last few months has been a challenging and unprecedented time for business, but we are heartened and encouraged by the support of our trade customers and the resilience of our staff. This positive spirit is just what we need to rebuild. We would like to thank the team in Merseyside for their hard work and boundless enthusiasm in opening the new branch; this is the way forward to a brighter and better future. Merseyside poses a great opportunity for MKM, the building industry in the area has always been buoyant and we have great faith that by working together with local trades people we can rebuild business to be better and stronger than ever."

North West probation service is "good, but with room for improvement"

A probation service that manages more than 17,000 offenders in the North West is performing well, but needs to improve specific aspects of its work, according to inspectors. HM Inspectorate of Probation conducted a routine inspection of the North West division of the National Probation Service (NPS) in January and February. Inspectors looked at 10 aspects of the division's work and gave an overall rating of 'Good.' Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said:- "We last inspected the North West division of the NPS in October 2018. On our return, the service has retained its 'Good' rating and is performing well in many respects. Experienced and enthusiastic leaders are focused on providing a high quality service for people who have been released from prison or who are serving community sentences. Supervision starts promptly, and staff involve individuals in the planning and delivery of their sentences."

Inspectors commended the division for recruiting and training new staff. Mr Russell said:- "There is a national shortage of probation Officers and the division had a 20% vacancy rate at our last inspection. Since then, the division has taken on 153 people and is supporting them to undertake the Professional Qualification in Probation. This was a creditable way to tackle vacancies and means the division is now fully staffed at all grades for the 1st time since 2015."

However, inspectors were concerned to find that many staff had workloads that were too demanding. Nearly 1 in 3 probation Officers had workloads that were over 110% of expected capacity. Inspectors also found shortfalls in some areas of practice. Mr Russell said:- "Probation services should protect the public and support the rehabilitation of offenders. Across this division, probation staff do not request information from the Police and local Authorities in a consistent way. We think domestic abuse and child safeguarding checks are vital to keep more people safe. In too many instances; 4 out of 10 inspected cases; supervision did not focus sufficiently on helping individuals to address factors related to their offending, including tackling substance misuse."

The Inspectorate is encouraging the division to invest in the professional development of its staff to drive improvement. HM Prison and Probation Service and the Ministry of Justice provide central functions to all NPS divisions. Mr Russell said:- "When these functions do not work well, this has a negative impact on the division's ability to deliver a quality service. For example, the NPS national training team has insufficient resources to deliver mandatory training in child and adult safeguarding. This could make a difference to the quality of work in the North West. We reported previously on the poor condition of several buildings in the division. While there has been some progress, our inspectors found many ongoing problems including a vermin infestation in Rochdale and 2 out of 5 interview rooms in Blackburn being out of service for 6 months. During a site visit to a probation office, an inspector found potentially dangerous exposed electrical wires and a bucket on a desk collecting water. Working in inadequate buildings has a negative impact on staff and could jeopardise the health and safety of individuals under probation supervision. The Ministry of Justice must address this issues as a priority."

The Inspectorate has made 10 recommendations to improve the work of the North West division of the NPS yet further.

Letter to Editor:- "We want the hedge back!"

"WE want to remind your readers, Sefton Council and Formby Parish Council that the 100 year old hedge, that was on Liverpool Road, Formby, was fully removed in January 2020, without permission. Please can they confirm that now work has started on the building site that development will be reminded that this historic and important hedgerow will be put back and properly protected in future?"  Andy (Full name and address supplied).

Editors note:- "We have contacted Sefton Council for a comment.  We would love to hear from other readers who might have views on any environmental issues within the Liverpool City Region.  If you do, like Andy did, please do email us to:- and let us know your views so that we can look at highlighting them."

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