Posts filed under: News

Revolutionary Lightweight Boots from Dr.Martens

Members, News

Industrial safety footwear experts Dr. Martens has launched their new, revolutionary footwear collection, DM’s Lite. Designed to provide ultimate comfort without compromising on function or safety, Dr. Martens has unleashed a game changer in the form of three new styles, the Calamus, Linnet and Corvid. Lightweight without compromise.

Weighing in at only 3.2lbs a pair, Dr. Martens’ Calamus are guaranteed to keep you light on your feet. Each pair of DM’s Lite comes with a Softwair memory foam footbed, positioned and shaped for arch support, and also includes breathable linings, padded collar and tongue for all-day ease and comfort.

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When it comes to safety footwear, it’s crucial to have the right type of foot protection to suit you and your workplace. Research suggests that 2.1 million working days were lost in 2014/15, with over half caused by slips, trips and falls from height. DM’s Lite offer lightweight, comfort-driven styles, ideal for those working on their feet all-day. From the everyday DIY-er, to the full-time Transport Operations Manager, DM’s Lite makes for an ideal choice.

Aside from the lightness, each style boasts a range of safety benefits, including a composite toe cap, a flexible puncture-resistant midsole and a Nitrile rubber outsole that provides exceptional heat and slip resistance.

For more information on what you can expect from the new Dr. Martens range, click here.

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Cyber Crime Prevention Tips from Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit

Advice, News

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Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit have kindly put together their top tips for this ever growing problem.

Cyber Crime Prevention Top Tips

  • Backup your files and data to external hard drives, the cloud and don’t forget to back up your phone regularly.
  • Check that a websites address is genuine by looking for misspellings.
  • Use 3G/4G for confidential browsing instead of free public WiFi.
  • Do not enter personal information on a website that has no padlock in the browser or https:// at the beginning of the web address.
  • Always ensure you are running the latest version of your chosen browser.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated Anti-Virus software and firewall running before you go online. Do not install 2 Anti-Virus programs as they will conflict.
  • Be aware of USBs containing malware that can run without your knowledge.
  • Use strong and random passwords/passphrases i.e. use at least 10 characters, include numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.
  • Different site – different password.
  • Use a password manager to remember all your passwords.
  • Use multi factor authentication.
  • Delete and block spam/junk emails. Be careful when opening attachments or using internet downloads and don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders.
  • Change your default WiFi passwords
  • Especially if you run a business, make sure you double check who is sending you invoices and where they want the money sent.
  • Make sure your internet browser and any plug-ins are updated (e.g. Flash, Java, Silverlight).
  • Use reputable companies when shopping online.
  • Use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or credit cards for online purchases.
  • Be aware of scams: criminal gangs operate scams and use the internet to defraud people and businesses, i.e. asking for money to pay for travel, finance a sick relative, or winning the lottery.
  • Protect your identity online and beware of social engineering. Remember if you share any pictures or information with anyone online you will lose control of it and could be used in attacks such as trying to guess your passwords.
  • Take 5 minutes to think when about to send a large amount of money online. Is everything adding up as it should?
  • Report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud

If you have any specific questions relating to this subject please email [email protected]

Worcestershire Trading Standards Launch

Members, News

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Worcestershire Trading Standards are pleased to announce that we are now working in partnership with Checkatrade to provide an approved trader scheme to help Worcestershire’s consumers choose a trader they can trust and rely upon.

Each trader under this scheme undergoes a comprehensive vetting procedure and continuous monitoring of customer feedback as well as being checked by Trading Standards following the Checkatrade vetting process.

Worcestershire Trading Standards, in partnership with Checkatrade, are committed to protecting customers, supporting legitimate business and solving the UK’s rogue trader problem.

Trading Standards Approved means that an approved business understands that they are required to adhere to certain trading laws. Checks have been carried out by Trading Standards using partner agencies, intelligence databases and trader history. Trading Standards Approved ensures maximum consumer protection and stops rogue traders. Whilst they cannot guarantee the quality of goods or services, Local Authorities are confident that once checked traders will act responsibly and deal with their customers fairly and honestly. Consumers will always have the opportunity to reflect this when giving feedback.

NEW CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE CRIMINAL SCAMS LAUNCHED

Advice, News
  • Scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of consumer detriment every year
  • Campaign to help people identify, change perceptions and prevent people falling victim to scams

A new campaign has launched today to raise awareness of scams and encourage people to take a stand against them. Scams often target people in vulnerable situations – the Friends Against Scams campaign aims to protect and prevent these people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.

Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.

The Friends Against Scams campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, is open to anyone who wants to protect themselves, their neighbours or their loved ones against scams. Free training and awareness sessions – available online and in person at local awareness sessions – are being rolled out, which will provide people with the confidence and skills they need to identify and prevent scams. Those who participate in the training will become a Friend Against Scams and will be encouraged to put their knowledge to use in their local communities.

The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to:

  • Highlight the scale of the issue by encouraging communities and the nation to talk about scams
  • Change the perceptions of why people become scam victims
  • Prevent people from becoming or continuing to be a scam victim by providing better support
  • Recruit individuals and communities to join the fight against scams to make this a scam-free nation

In addition to empowering members of the public the campaign will also partner with a range of organisations who will help promote awareness of scams and take steps to help tackle scams. Founding partners of the campaign include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Louise Baxter, Team Manager at the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:

“Scams do huge damage to our society and we have launched this campaign to protect our communities, particularly people in vulnerable situations who are deliberately targeted by criminals. Scams defraud people and – in addition to the financial damage – many victims are left feeling socially isolated, often too uncomfortable to tell their friends and family what has happened.

“It is time that we took a stand against scams. Friends Against Scams aims to tackle the lack of scams awareness by providing information to enable communities and organisations to understand scams, talk about scams and convey messages throughout communities about scam prevention and protection. I’d encourage anyone interested in stopping scams to visit the Friends Against Scams website – http://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ – and sign-up.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: 

“I strongly believe this campaign can play an important role in helping stop scams. Criminals often prey on victims who find themselves in vulnerable situations and we can all play a part to protect ourselves, family members, friends and neighbours from falling victim to scams, which is why I welcome this campaign and encourage people to get involved.

“Anyone who is worried they may be being scammed or who is concerned about someone who they fear may be a victim should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”

Together We’re Stronger – Local Authority Trading Standards & Checkatrade working in partnership

Members, News

For the past 18 years Checkatrade have been working hard to combat rogues trades and services. 4 years ago Suffolk CC TS joined us and today we stand in partnership with 9 Local Authority Trading Standards. This session is about our journey, the partnership model and the awesome results we’re achieving together for residents.

Combining the intelligence of Trading Standards and the 18 years of award winning pioneering service from Checkatrade, there is before us probably the most significant opportunity this country has seen to date to protect residents from rogue trades.

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Kevin Byrne Founder of Checkatrade:

“Checkatrade is one of the UK’s monumental successes on many levels. It started in 1998 when a tornado caused over £10m of damage to the home town of Checkatrade founder Kevin Byrne. After being reported on national news, trades from all over the UK flooded to Selsey and victims of the weather became victims of rogue trades. After a search to see if an answer to the rogue trade problem was out there, Kevin couldn’t find one, so with nothing more than a telephone and a PC Kevin set out to develop an answer.”

Today over 850,000 individuals every month use Checkatrade to find the right trade for them. These trades have to go through 18 considerations, 14 of these being checks before they are able to join Checkatrade. If the member in one of our partnered Trading Standards areas these can increase up to a total of 25 considerations. These include ID references, insurance, qualifications and professional memberships. This has contributed massively to make Checkatrade the first port of call for residents to find quality trades and services. In the last 12 months we have generated over 8,500 new jobs in the trade industry and an estimated £2.7b for the trades listed on Checkatrade and for the UK economy. Not many UK companies can claim these numbers and for the comfort of many the company is still privately owned and passionately run by the Byrne family with no city investment.

Our Local Authority Trading Standards partnership journey started 4 years ago when Suffolk County Council Trading Standards decided to discard their Approved Trader scheme and adopt Checkatrade as their partners. Which was then soon followed by Kent County Council. When Checkatrade partnered with Kent County Council they both took considerable time developing a scheme that would bring a standard to the status, “Trading Standards Approved”. One that could and should be recognized by other Local Authorities across the UK.

The aim being:
• To bring a UK standard for Trading Standards Approved.
• To protect all residents both able and vulnerable.
• To help trades become more compliant to consumer laws and improve their service.
• To bring valuable help and income to local authorities.
• To enhance the economy of local regions.
• To bring valuable employment to local regions.
We have achieved all the above in measure.

Our vetting is even more stringent where we have a partnership with a local authority. There are an additional 7 considerations, which includes Trading Standards Intelligence checks. A key factor that is well worth highlighting is that the final decision of who can join and be listed on Checkatrade and label their company as Trading Standards Approved is in the hands of the Trading Standards officers in the local authority.

To find out more or to search for a recommended trader, visit www.checkatrade.com.

 

Statement from Kevin Byrne, Checkatrade Founder.

News

Following the recent episode of BBC’s Rip off Britain aired on Tuesday 13th September which featured a segment on Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne CEO and founder of Checkatrade has issued a statement.

“Checkatrade would like to sincerely apologise to Brian Lambert for the substandard work he received. Checkatrade ensure all trades joining today are interviewed face to face, vetted with 18 considerations and 14 actual checks. This results in only 1 complaint in every 200 jobs for poor workmanship but sadly a small minority of jobs don’t always go to plan. Mr Lambert’s complaint was received on 17th September 2015 and at this point the trader had 42 positive reviews from happy customers. However, after an inspection of the workmanship in question we agreed the work was of a poor nature and after numerous attempts to contact the trade, we took the decision to expel them on 27th October 2015. Checkatrade are now partnered with Trading Standards to further support monitoring and vetting systems.” Kevin Byrne CEO and Founder of Checkatrade.

The advice and training which we have received from our primary authority, Trading Standards, has been implemented and acted on and we try our utmost to ensure that our scheme is robust with only genuine traders being allowed. We are continually monitoring and adjusting our processes to try and prevent these types of instances from happening.

Checkatrade would like to take this opportunity to remind all customers that we are dedicated and committed to maintaining our reputation and do everything we can to ensure we provide only the best and most reliable tradespeople in the UK.

We have over twenty two thousand reputable tradespeople at the click of a button and although accessing them is a simple process, we can guarantee that these tradespeople have been through rigorous checks before they feature on the site.
This rigorous vetting process, which includes valid Public Liability Insurance, accreditation’s and monitoring of the company’s status, continues throughout their membership to ensure our tradespeople meet the Checkatrade standard.

This is something that Checkatrade are extremely strict on and we want to reassure all of our past, present and future customers that should we receive a negative review of a sub-standard job, we will action it immediately and the company/person in question will be investigated and their place on the site will be re-considered.

As with any company or service, sadly mistakes can and do happen but did you know that 1 in every 5 jobs in the UK carried out by tradespeople need to be put right based on a National Average. At Checkatrade we pride ourselves on being able to confidently state that on average for every 200 reviews we obtain only one is negative. From the date of this being published we have also had 2,561,965 reviews posted on the Checkatrade website.

The Ultimate Eco Drive Challenge – 2000 Miles Across Europe Using Limited Fuel!

Inspiration, News

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This Friday (2nd September) two teams from Whiteboxvan.uk will begin their 2000-mile trip across Europe in cars they purchased for £250. They are hoping to raise £2000 for the Sussex Community foundation, a charity that helps fund community groups tackling deprivation and disadvantage.

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Starting at Whitebox HQ in Lancing, West Sussex the two teams will be driving across Europe as economically as possible, time penalties will be added for every refuel. Using their skills to keep the fuel stops to a minimum, they will cover approx. 500 miles per day. First car back to HQ is the winner.

“It’s fantastic that companies like Whitebox are willing to give their time to help support the local community”. Miranda Kemp, Sussex Community Foundation.

The eco run will take place betw een Friday 2nd until Monday 5th September. To ensure that no one misses out on the action the whole event is to be filmed by Punchy Pictures. For more information about the Sussex Community Foundation see their website or view the interview.  More information about the eco run is available via  http://www.whiteboxuk.co.uk/eco-run-96-w.asp & https://localgiving.org/appeal/WhiteboxUK/

For further information, please contact [email protected]. 07818 414758.

CHECKATRADE TROPHY ALL SET FOR KICK OFF

News

On Tuesday 30 August the new look Checkatrade Trophy will get underway with 64 clubs competing to reach a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 2 April 2017.

With an innovative new competition format pitting 48 League One and League Two sides against 16 invited Category One Academy sides, the revamped and expanded Checkatrade Trophy will give some of England’s brightest young talents the opportunity to gain experience and develop their skills against EFL clubs.

Prize money for the 2016/17 Checkatrade Trophy stands at £1.95 million, an increase of over 300% from 2015/16, making this season’s rejuvenated competition the most lucrative for participating EFL clubs since its inception in the 1983/84 season.

Clubs will benefit from financial prizes as they progress through the competition which includes £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the Group Stage, increasing prizes for following Knockout Stage victories and a £100,000 prize sum for the eventual winner. In addition, invited clubs will donate all or some of their share of gate receipts to a fund that will be shared equally by clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two.

Kicking off the Checkatrade Trophy, a newly introduced group stage will be regionalised with 16 groups of four teams. Each group will include at least one side from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two, plus one Academy team.

In the Northern section, Bolton Wanderers will look to continue their strong start to the season against Everton at the Macron Stadium with a family friendly kick off time of 7pm. Elsewhere, Sheffield United will take on Leicester City’s young guns at Bramall Lane while Scunthorpe United and Middlesbrough will lock horns at Glanford Park.

In the Southern section, opening fixtures will see last season’s Sky Bet League Two Play-Off winners AFC Wimbledon begin their Checkatrade Trophy campaign against Swansea City, West Ham United travel to Coventry City and Charlton Athletic will host Southampton.

Ahead of the Checkatrade Trophy’s opening fixtures, Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of the EFL said: “Following the changes in the competition structure and format, the introduction of an additional £1million in prize money and a new and enhanced sponsorship agreement with Checkatrade, the competition offers significant financial benefits for EFL clubs in 2016/17 when compared to previous seasons.

“Clubs will receive prize money for the games that they win or they draw in the first round group stage as well as the knockout rounds.  Of the 48 EFL clubs that competed in the competition last season, 29 teams earned less than £10,000 from the competition and 37 received less than £20,000.  With £10,000 on offer for each group stage victory, it is clear to see there are now tangible short term financial benefits to the Checkatrade Trophy as well as the more established longer term ones. This has not been possible previously.

“Additional revenues will be generated for EFL clubs with invited Category One clubs agreeing to donate a proportion of their allocated net gate receipts to an EFL ‘pot’.  The final sum will be shared equally amongst League One and League Two clubs following the conclusion of the competition.”

He added: “Alongside the financial increases, the new format is intended to reinvigorate the competition as well as assisting with the development of the very best young players in English football.  The EFL and its clubs remain committed to producing more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to both the domestic and international game.”

 

—ENDS—

Editors Notes:

 

COMPETITION FORMAT

Clubs:

  • 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One & Two.
  • 16 invited Category One Academy teams.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • EFL clubs – a minimum of five ‘First Team’ players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
  • Invited clubs – six of the starting 11 to be U21 (as at June 30).

Prize Money and Proceeds

  • £1.95 million, an increase from last season’s total of £478k (over 300% increase)
  • Sponsorship income increase
  • Due to an increase in games in Round One (16 to 96) it is assumed that there will be a significant increase in net receipts to clubs;
  • Match proceeds split 45% home and away club, 10% to the pool account
  • Invited clubs will donate a proportion of their match proceeds back into the prize pot:
    • 100% in group stages,
    • 44% in round Two-Four and
    • 33% in Semi-Finals and Final);
Round Prize Money Total
Group Stages £10,000 per win

£5,000 per draw

£960,000
Round Two £20,000 per win £320,000
Round Three £40,000 per win £320,000
Round Four £50,000 per win £200,000
Runners Up   £50,000
Winners   £100,000
Total   £1,950,000

The ‘pot’

The ‘pot’ will be divided equally between the 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two at the end of the competition.

Group Stage:

  • 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
  • Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
  • Clubs to play each other once, either home or away.  Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first team stadium.
  • Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw.  In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
  • The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.

Knockout Stage:

  • Round Two (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second placed team from a different qualifying group.
  • Round Three (16 teams) and Round Four (eight teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
  • Semi-Finals (four teams) will be a ‘free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
  • If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds Two, Three and Four, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties.  The EFL will confirm arrangements for the Semi-Finals and Final in due course following further consultation.  

Dates:

  • Group Stage
  • w/c 29th August 2016
  • w/c 3rd October 2016
  • w/c 7th November 2016
  • Round Two – w/c 5th December 2016
  • Round Three – w/c 9th January 2017
  • Round Four – w/c 23rd January 2017
  • Semi- Final – w/c 20th February 2017
  • Final – 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium) 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • At the summer conference 2016 clubs voted to change the format of the Checkatrade Trophy competition following a request by the Board of Directors;
  • Over 60% of League One (15) and League Two (15) clubs in favour of new proposals;
  • Less than 30% of League One (8) and League Two (6) clubs voted against;
  • Part of the proposal was a season-long trial whereby 16 Category One academy teams would be invited to participate;
  • The decision was made on the basis the competition was in ‘serious need’ of innovation to survive;
  • The EFL is dedicated to supporting, through EPPP, English football’s commitment to creating more and better home grown players.  The Checkatrade Trophy provides opportunities for young players to play in meaningful fixtures;
  • Each invited club to be known by their usual name i.e. Swansea City;
  • The final mix of clubs includes 10 Premier League sides and six from the Championship;
  • Confirmed clubs are: Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Reading;
  • A Wembley appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy can be worth over £400k.

 

Family weekend!

Inspiration, News

Where to start?  I recently spent a long weekend with family and part of it with friends, I have a huge family with 4 siblings 10 nieces and nephews along with an extended family of what feels like hundreds of Aunts, Uncles, cousins, second cousins, second cousins twice removed……….

When we were young I relished time with my family, we had similar interests, sense of humour and in the 70’s no digital games just a garden hose, jacks (someone will explain if you don’t know this) a tennis ball in a pair of my Mum’s stockings so we could play ‘my mother say’s (again ask someone)

Now as adults we all have different interests, ego’s, we live in a digital age that we all feel we must check constantly, we have our own family that are of course the best at everything in our eyes and we are happy to shoot anyone down who may think differently. Our children don’t have the same bond with their second cousins because we have all moved to different areas of the country and even different continents, this leads to stilted conversation sometimes, in particular various parts of the family have opted out of ‘normal civilisation’ and although the conversations about living off the land, being ecological and not having a carbon footprint all sound commendable the reality is limited chat, no common interest and a slight body odour emanating. We all say ‘I love my family to death but’ do we really mean this? I had a good think after and came to the resolution that I would hunt down and do bad things to anyone who hurt my family and I do love them but, I don’t want to spend too much time with them, we all gave the cordial, ‘we mustn’t leave it so long next time’ ‘let’s make a date’ but in reality I don’t feel we mean it and secretly we are all slightly relieved when we can go back to our own castles and slate everyone in private.

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The next day I spent with my girlfriends, I literally spent the whole day in hysterics, belly laughing, looking at something inappropriate and knowing that they will also have clocked it and with one look doubled up without having to say a word. Finishing each other’s sentences, never tiring of talking about our past escapades and still finding them hysterical, knowing that bring a bottle always means two, that if my house isn’t spot on tidy no one is going to talk about it later and on the whole having the most brilliant day.

This leads me to the old analogy, ‘you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends’ True to a certain extent but, I am still fiercely proud of my slightly eccentric, eclectic, sometimes wholly inappropriate family and will keep in touch with them however, thankfully by good old Facebook where we can all hide behind our online persona, we can send the odd Happy Birthday or even just a smile.

Safe until the next family get together!

£5,000* and Paid Apprentice up for grabs to the Ultimate Tradesperson

Members, News

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IRWIN®’s Ultimate Tradesperson Competition Calls on Outstanding Tradespeople to Nominate Themselves, Friends and Colleagues for the 2016 title

LONDON, UK [August 3rd, 2016] – IRWIN® Tools, innovation experts in the hand tool and power tool accessories industry for over a century, has launched its annual Nominate a Tradesperson competition to find the UK and Ireland’s Ultimate Tradesperson.

IRWIN is on the lookout for trade professionals – joiners, electricians, plumbers, metal workers and mechanics to nominate themselves or colleagues and share their stories of when they have gone above and beyond to get a job done, no matter how big or small.

Tradespeople worldwide rely on IRWIN for superior performance on the job and now IRWIN wants to celebrate the UK and Ireland’s best. The successful candidate will receive a year’s paid apprentice for 2017, £5,000 (€6,440) to help build their business and a range of IRWIN products including IRWIN’s new Pro Comfort Screwdrivers, WeldTec™ Circular Saw blades and VISE-GRIP® cutting pliers.

The winner will be announced at the Build Show on the 18th and 19th October at the NEC in Birmingham.

Ahead of the 2016 winner being crowned, between June to October a monthly winner will receive a prize package bursting with IRWIN tools to the value of £660 (€851) as well as an all-expense paid trip for two to the Build Show to the value of £850 (€1095).

The competition now in its second year gives IRWIN the opportunity to recognise the positive difference tradespeople are making to the UK and Ireland. IRWIN spokesperson Amber Popowicz, Senior Brand Activation Manager explains: “We established Nominate a Tradesperson to find tradespeople who through their skills and dedication make a real difference. This could be a tradesperson who has shown their commitment to instilling their skills in the younger generation by working with apprentices or someone who always goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional client service.”

2015 Winner, Stacey Greenwell, from Stoke-on-Trent added, “When I began my career over 15 years ago I never thought I would become the UK’s Ultimate Tradesperson. I started buying uninhabitable derelict properties and renovating them to provide affordable housing to help my local town. It’s been such an experience to have won and it’s been great to have been recognised by such a long-standing company like IRWIN.”

To nominate yourself, a friend, a colleague or family member who you think deserves the recognition of UK and Ireland’s Ultimate Tradesperson, and to find the full terms and conditions of this promotion visit: www.irwin.co.uk/nominate