A £12,000 fund to help youngsters become more employable has been launched by the companies behind the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.

Westfield and Hammerson, working together as Croydon Partnership, has committed the money in a youth opportunity grant fund.

And the Partnership is inviting community groups and charities which work with young people to apply for a grant of up to £2,000.

The criteria for submission focuses on organisations developing the employability of 12 to 18 year olds, and might include; improving skills, the provision of training and equipment, activities which develop positive attitudes towards work, and projects which provide practical experience of the workplace.

Westfield’s director of development John Burton said: “Youth engagement and local enterprise are the key focuses of our community plan, and this grant scheme supports both areas.

“Through careful deliberation and feedback from the local community, we realised that investing in young people to prepare for the world of work not only benefits the individuals, but also helps prospective local employers looking to recruit able young people.”

Hammerson’s chief investment officer Peter Cole added: “The workplace can be a daunting prospect for young people, so providing practical support to help them prepare for employment can make a significant difference to their confidence and job prospects.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from, and ultimately working with, some of the local organisations who are already doing some excellent work in this area, or a group looking for support in starting a new initiative.”

Get an application form online at thecroydonpartnership.com/community, by email community@thecroydonpartnership.com or by post by writing to Croydon Partnership Community Team c/o Ahzaz Chowdury, Fourth Floor, Green Dragon House, 64-70 High Street, Croydon CR0 9XN.

The grant fund is the first part of the partnership in the community programme, a key component of the Croydon Partnership’s wider community plan.

This plan sees the Partnership funding training and education projects, sponsorships and a grants and bursaries programme to ensure people benefit from the redevelopment.