A NORTH-EAST town will help launch a scheme to revitalise flagging shopping areas.

Charity Carnegie UK Trust has chosen Middlesbrough to support a programme encouraging young people to look at opening high street businesses.

The charity wants 16 to 30-year-olds to take part in its TestTown event, offering help with ideas for setting up new shops.

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Bosses say regional winners will receive £500 towards start-up funding, with the national winner getting £10,000 to invest in a business.

Jim Metcalfe, from 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 attract local people back into them.

“TestTown will demonstrate that imaginative and youthful thinking can help our flagging high streets.

“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 scheme will also operate in Manchester, Scotland and Northern Ireland.