FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine visited Poole to see the progress of the Dorset Growth Hub.

He discussed business matters with senior officials at Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, its delivery team and some of the companies who have been supported over the past year.

Lord Heseltine was President of the Board of Trade and then John Major’s deputy PM in the 1990s.

In 2012, he authored a report, No Stone Unturned, which advocated devolving more power to the English regions and setting up a single local growth fund. Most of its recommendations were accepted by the government.

Lord Heseltine visited the RNLI Headquarters, where an apprenticeship was being run by the Growth Hub. The hub launched in April 2014 and offers a range of free business support and signposting to companies at various stages of growth.

The hub’s manager, Lucy Cooper, told Lord Heseltine the hub had helped create 190 jobs in Dorset in its first 10 months.

The Local Enterprise Board discussed the need for solid partnership between private and public sectors to achieve growth, strengthen the county’s infrastructure and create more jobs.

Chairman Gordon Page also referred to the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan and how it would be looking to review its contents to ensure Dorset’s economic needs and potential were fully recognised by central government.

Mr Page said: “We were delighted to receive Lord Heseltine. The LEP is very proud of the Dorset Growth Hub, which is considered a national exemplar and an initiative of the LEP that is essential to driving economic growth and prosperity in Dorset, whilst providing expert advice and support for local entrepreneurs and businesses.”

The second part of the session discussed successes and challenges during the Dorset Growth Hub’s first year. It heard that partnership working with organisations such as the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bournemouth University were the key to wider business engagement. Several businesses present said they had received invaluable support from the hub.

Dorset Growth Hub can be contacted at or by ringing 08454 586480.