A TOWN at the heart of a regeneration project is one of seven areas picked for an initiative to encourage young people to open a high street business.

Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire will be one of the areas hosting the TestTown scheme, in which young people are given help with ideas for new shops in a bid to revitalise flagging town centres.

Perth is the only other Scottish area picked for the project, being run by the Carnegie UK Trust, and which targets 16 to 30-year-olds. Other areas for the initiative, to be held this summer, include Manchester, Rhyl, and Coleraine. Regional winners will receive £500 start-up funding, while the national winner will get £10,000 to invest in a business.

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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 they can realise their potential and create great businesses.

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

Kirkintilloch Councillor Rhondda Geekie, leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, said it would create a "vibrant" town centre.