01 February 2021

Dorset LEP has pledged £3.5 million towards the creation of a new flagship development

Dorset LEP has pledged £3.5 million towards the creation of a new flagship development

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has pledged £3.5 million towards the creation of a new flagship development designed to help enhance higher education opportunities for young people in rural Dorset and enable growth in small rural businesses.

The new University Centre and Rural Business Development Hub is the first of its kind in rural Dorset and is a potential game-changer for the local student and business community.

The 875sqm gateway to the estate will be the opening vista to a core learning and experiential estate in the heart of rural Dorset.

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to award a significant amount from our overall £11.8 million Getting Building Fund allocation towards this much-needed development. The combination of a University Centre with a Rural Business Hub will allow Dorset LEP to realise the opportunities described in its own commissioned work, The South West Rural Productivity Commission and the Local Industrial Strategy. Our investment in this exciting project will address the significant deficiency in HE provision in rural Dorset, help to plug the productivity gap and provide valuable support to the rural business community.”

Luke Rake, Principal of Kingston Maurward College, commented: “Kingston Maurward is extremely pleased to be prioritised by Dorset LEP for funding for our planned University Centre and Rural Business Hub. It has long been recognised that progression to higher education is less good from the rural part of the county. This ambitious intervention, driven by the college, aims to help improve social mobility and opportunities for knowledge transfer.

“A dedicated rural business centre will both support businesses across the rural area and also increase opportunities with our new Rural Business, Tourism and Heritage Land Management programmes for Sixth Formers and University students from 2021-22. It is extremely exciting and a game-changer for both the college, Dorchester and the rural county.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: This government is widening access to higher education across the country, encouraging social mobility and delivering opportunities to our young people.

“That’s why I’m delighted we are backing the new hub in Dorset with a £3.5 million Getting Building Fund investment.

“This project will provide important support to rural small business, safeguarding and creating jobs, boosting local economies and spreading prosperity across the region.”

Chris Loder MP, Member of Parliament for West Dorset, said: “I am pleased to see this much needed additional funding come into West Dorset, particularly funding that supports rural businesses. Kingston Maurward College is an inspiring centre of education with a long history in providing short courses, apprenticeships and university level courses enabling young people to further their chosen careers in agriculture, business and to prepare for the military. This new funding secures future development, as well as offering a much-needed boost for the local community and rural economy.”


Notes to editors:

Dorset LEP

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP deliver projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset.

For more information visit the Dorset LEP website http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/

Getting Building Fund

On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund. The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK.

The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. Projects funded include:

  • regeneration of town and city centres
  • green infrastructure and clean energy
  • transport and digital connectivity improvements
  • unlocking of housing and business sites
  • support for SMEs and learners

The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000 sqm of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sqm of public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved.

All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.

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