Dorset is to receive an £11.8 million economy boost – including £3.5m for a significant education development at Kingston Maurward College.

The money comes from the Government's Getting Building Fund to stimulate economic recovery and create new jobs, helping to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

While a number of projects around the county will get cash for various projects, including Weymouth College, the one receiving the most funding locally is Kingston Maurward near Dorchester which will build a University Centre & Rural Business Development Hub, developing a new 'anchor point' for university education within rural Dorset.

Principal Luke Rake said: “Kingston Maurward is extremely pleased to be prioritised for funding for our planned Hub. It has long been recognised that progression to higher education is less good from the rural part of the county, and this ambitious intervention, driven by the college, aims to help improve social mobility, opportunities for knowledge transfer both at a high level and sit at the centre of gravity of the new rural authority.

"Combining this with 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.”

The project will include a multi-purpose space with a hall, digital presentation equipment and meeting rooms for teaching provision and community uses.

Weymouth College meanwhile will receive £255,000 to refurbish the University Centre to directly address the higher education ‘cold spot’ in Dorset. It will directly focus on the issues of poor social mobility specifically in south and west Dorset and contribute strongly to regeneration and the 'many poverty and low aspiration issues of coastal communities'.

Dorset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, on behalf of Dorset Integrated Care System, receives £300,000 for a health project to tackle issues around high blood pressure (hypertension).

Other projects to receive funding are in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

Jim Stewart, Chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Paternership (LEP) - which secured funding for the county - said: “This is a fantastic investment in Dorset from Government at a much-needed time. This funding will enable capital projects linked to Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy to be delivered quickly, bringing essential jobs and resources to our community which will accelerate growth in Dorset.”

West Dorset MP Chris Loder said: “Kingston Maurward College is an inspiring land-based 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, rural business and to prepare for the military. This new funding secures future development, as well as offering a much-needed boost for local employment."