The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has opened its first Regional Centre of Excellence as part of a localisation programme designed to strengthen the organisation's regional presence and add to the support it offers members in their geographic area.

The BMF is to establish up to 24 Centres of Excellence, two in each of its 12 regions, in the coming months.

The first Centre of Excellence is at The Green Energy Centre at John A Stephens in Nottingham. It will be used as a regional hub and centre for BMF training in the East Midlands. As such, it will host regional meetings and forums as well as training courses for members in that area.

The BMF's first Regional Training Programme, comprising three different training courses, will run at the Green Energy Centre In November. The next East Midlands Regional Meeting will also be held there.

Opened 10 years ago, the £2m Green Energy Centre was designed by local architect, Julian Marsh, as a purpose-built space to provide advice, information and training on renewable energy systems.

Further sites for BMF Centres of Excellence have already been identified in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North West, Eastern, South West and West Midland regions. Further details of these will be announced at Members Day on 21 September.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: "We have been working with members to identify appropriate spaces as regional hubs where local groups can come together for meetings and training. The Green Energy Centre is a superb example and I'm sure it will play an important role in servicing the needs of our members in the East Midlands."

Andy Stephens, Director of John A Stephens and BMF Regional Chairman, said: "We are delighted that the Green Energy Centre has been selected as the first of the BMF’s Regional Centres of Excellence. I think it will be extremely useful for members to meet locally on a regular basis and, as Regional Chairman, I look forward to welcoming them."