Kingston Maurward

I have written in this column before about the amazing strides being made by Kingston Maurward - definitely one of the jewels in the crown of Dorchester and, indeed, of Dorset as a whole.

The College has been doing everything in its considerable power to increase the scope and range of its activities and to fulfil its mission as a first-class rural and agricultural college of the kind that Dorset certainly needs.

Under a succession of energetic and visionary directors, Kingston Maurward has managed to combine preserving its special character and inheritance with bold moves to enter new worlds - not least through its increasingly deep liaison with the Royal Veterinary College.

But these things don't happen just by willpower and good organisation. They also require investment. So it is very welcome news that the College has just received a large dollop of capital funding from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

At a time when there are considerable and well-known difficulties in handling the nation's finances, this new funding comes as a useful reminder that we are still able to keep investing in fundamental public services like education, training and health care.

There is always the temptation, when money is tight, to spend only on immediate necessities rather than investing in things that will yield dividends for many years to come. But this investment at Kingston Maurward (and indeed the major programme of capital funding for primary schools) demonstrates that this particular temptation is currently being resisted.

Let's hope that future generations of Dorset people employed in our rural economy will look back on this as an important further step forward for this remarkable College.