High street boost forColeraine

Coleraine has been included in a UK-wide project to encourage young people to consider opening a high street business to help revitalise “flagging” town centres.

Leading charity the Carnegie UK Trust is targeting 16 to 30-year-olds by offering to help with ideas for opening new shops.

Carnegie hopes that thousands of youngsters will apply to be part of its TestTown initiative, which will be held this summer in Manchester, Middlesbrough, Rhyl, Kirkinilloch, Bury St Edmunds, Perth and Coleraine.

Regional winners will receive £500 start-up funding, while the national winner will get £10,000 to invest in a business.

Jim Metcalfe of the Carnegie UK Trust said: “The time has come to offer young people the opportunity to bring a new perspective to our high streets. In the age of online shopping and social media, town centres need to adapt to woo local people back into them.

“TestTown will demonstrate that imaginative, youthful thinking can help our flagging high streets. It will show young people that they can realise their potential and create great new businesses.

“There is chronic youth unemployment in the UK and the sight of vacant shops in our town centres is something this initiative aims to change.”

The Carnegie UK Trust ran a pilot event in 2013, which created a number of successful businesses and shaped the lives of those who took part. Sales over of £10,000 were taken during the TestTown week and footfall in the trading streets doubled.

The regional heats of TestTown will be held from June to August in the seven locations with the final being held in a prominent UK town.