DORSET is getting a much-needed boost with the announcement of an £11.8million government package that should create 264 jobs.

It includes £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).

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."

The package includes: * A £3.5m university centre and rural business development hub at Kingston Maurward College near Dorchester. It will include a new hall, digital presentation equipment and meeting rooms for teaching and community use.

* Modernisation, refurbishment and development of Weymouth College’s Higher Education Centre, allowing the college to expand its offer and improve “higher level” skills.

* £1.75m for Old Town Creative, a BCP Council plan to close Poole’s Lower High Street to traffic and acquire a site for flexible living and working space. There would be small units for “artisans and creatives” to make and sell their wares at ground floor level.

Bournemouth Echo: * A £2.7m integrated healthcare centre at AECC University College in Pokesdown, piloting a new approach in community rehabilitation.

*£1.4m for The Institute of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering Research, a project between Bournemouth University and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust. It will deliver research-led health and medical innovations and lead to the formation of a Dorset Biobank and a nanocomposites laboratory. It will provide education for 1,250 trainees and is estimated to be worth £7m to the Dorset economy.

* A £365,000 border control post at the Port of Poole for veterinary checks on animal products after the Brexit transition period ends.

A public trade office at the Port of Poole, for the movement of freight traffic between the EU and the UK after the end of the transition period, awarded £330,000.

* The Research Active Dorset Clinical Trials Unit, a facility at Bournemouth University providing a clinical trials service for industry and NHS trusts, with a higher education programme attached. It has been awarded £497,000.

*An Integrated Care System for Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, allowing the remote management of hypertension in Dorset patients through software which will monitor blood pressure at home, allocated £300,000.

The plans should safeguard another 56 jobs, employ 25 people in construction and unlock 1,685sqm of commercial space, with 1,940sqm of new or improved learning space. They will help 10,750 new learners and 76 businesses.