Jesse Norman writes for the Hereford Times
In February 1825 the poet Thomas Campbell wrote a remarkable open letter, in which he drew attention to the fact that there was no higher education of any description in London, and he called for the creation of a London University.
As Campbell put it, “The people of London should settle what sort of university they wish for, and it will be their own fault alone if it does not exist.” Nearly 200 years later, we can see that the creation of University College London started a revolution in higher education, not just across the UK but around the world.
But more telling, perhaps, is the case of Lincoln, a medieval city not so very much larger than Hereford. also in a very rural county, Barely twenty five years ago, a university campus was established in Lincoln. Since then, the city has been transformed: A 2017 study identified more than £275 million in new investment, boosting growth, pay, jobs and economic regeneration.
This is the opportunity for Hereford and for our county, and this is why NMITE, our New Model Institute of Technology and Engineering, is so important.
Let's be clear: these projects take a long time to get going; money is always short; an unflagging persistence and shared focus on the prize are essential for success. But the results are miraculous: economic growth over decades; a vast infusion of social and cultural energy; new youth and life and confidence.
But there is another lesson from history. The single most important ingredient for success in education is the presence of enlightened volunteers and benefactors: people and businesses, charitable trusts and foundations willing to step forward and give their financial and other support to make a project happen. This has been critical to NMITE from the start, and that generosity has been richly rewarded, with £25M in investment to date from the Government.
Now NMITE has launched Ignition, which allows people to make a regular contribution through payroll giving. It can be as much or as little as you like. It's incredibly easy, it's tax-advantaged, and every gift made through Ignition will help NMITE to fund initiatives that support learning and develop engineering in Herefordshire.
I signed up myself the other day, and I am thrilled to have been able to help our young people and our county. You can too.
To find out more, contact NMITE or visit https://nmite.ac.uk/give/donate-now