Government funding could help revitalise Helston town centre by providing a way to convert up to three empty shops for new projects.

This is the hope of a new community group that is looking to bid for part of a £675 million Future High Streets Fund set up by the government towards the end of last year.

Helston Community Interest Company (CIC) is in the very early stages of beginning an application to the fund, with the aim of potentially taking on the former JobCentre Plus and Original Factory Shop buildings in Coinagehall Street and the abandoned Co-op site in the Trengrouse Way car park.

A CIC spokesperson told the Packet: "All too often when these funds or grants come up, Helston never seems to apply for anything. Of all the towns in Cornwall, Helston is probably in more need than anybody.

"We should be applying for them and that's what we're looking to push forward."

A meeting has been arranged with Cornwall Council officers, in the hope of working together on the bid.

An expression of interest must be submitted by the end of March, after which a detailed business plan will have to be put together showing how the money would be used to create revenue and employment for the town, and regenerate the high street.

It is the next step in an idea first raised at a public meeting back in November, to take a currently empty building in the town and convert it into short-term lease units for start-up shops, almost in an arcade-style outlet, with potentially a cafe and offices above.

This would provide a stepping stone for businesses working from home at the moment, but not ready to take on a whole shop.

It was suggested that the key would be to make sure the rent was as low as possible - such as £150 or £200 per month - and have short leases so that new companies did not have to worry about expenses such as business rates, electricity and WiFi because it was already covered.

It was acknowledged that this depended on the agreement from the landlord of whichever building was chosen, but it was an idea that could be followed up in a shorter time frame.

The CIC is also looking into the possibility of a community centre, perhaps a youth centre, being created out of the old Co-op building.

It has been stressed that all projects are still only ideas being looked into, as to how possible they will be to achieve.

The government launched the multi-million pound Future High Streets Fund last October, to help towns adapt and respond to changes in the high street, such as an increase in online shopping resulting in less footfall.

The fund is also being used to set up a 'high streets taskforce', to provide expertise and hands-on support to communities.