Dorset LEP Growing Places Fund loan for Kingston Maurward College Animal Park

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Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has approved loan funding of £250,000 towards improving a popular tourist attraction at Kingston Maurward College.

Kingston Maurward College is a specialist college which delivers skills and training in land-based studies including agriculture, environment, animal welfare, conservation and construction for students from the ages of 16. It is Dorset’s only land-based provider and also entails a country estate of some 750 acres which generates commercial revenue through tourism and events management.

The College was successful in securing one of Dorset LEP’s Growing Places Fund loans which will be used for the replacement of an existing poor quality polytunnel at its Animal Park. The new permanent wooden barn structure will offer undercover play and learning space, along with potential catering facilities expansion. This will allow the Animal Park to become a more sustainable and growth-oriented year-round venue, increasing revenue and profile as well as long term sustainability for a venue close to the County Town.

When complete, the project will allow Kingston Maurward to increase the length of their operating season in terms of wet weather accessibility and activity. Consequently, offering an improved range of activities and higher quality visitor experience.

Lorna Carver Director of Dorset LEP said: “We are delighted to welcome Kingston Maurward College Animal Park to the growing list of funded projects in Dorset. With the financial support from the Growing Places Fund, Kingston Maurward can further expand and continue its contribution to the success of our economy”.

Kingston Maurward Principal & CEO Luke Rake:

“Kingston Maurward is more than just a College, and this investment loan from the LEP allows us to further develop our wider activity. We are vibrant country estate with a growing need for visitor capacity and facilities for both locals and tourists with young children. We also wish to support the growing number of school groups and home educators visiting the animal park and historic gardens as part of their learning. This facility puts visitors at the heart of the development with significantly improved undercover space.”

The Dorset LEP Growing Places Fund has been provided with £9.7m from central government as a revolving loan scheme to support innovation, productivity and the creation of jobs and housing in Dorset. It is a repayable loan that encourages local economic growth in Dorset through unlocking capital projects which have a significant economic and can deliver tangible economic outcomes.

If you are interested in find out more about the Growth Places fund then look here.