CuparNow – 2021 Quarter 3 Report

It has been quite a summer in Cupar. Almost all of the major restrictions affecting so many businesses have been lifted and – although not ‘back to normal’ – the town has been more open than at any time since before March 2020, culminating in the fantastic Celebration Weekend 2021 that brought thousands to Cupar to enjoy events and activities across the town …

By business, for business …

First and foremost, CuparNow exists to support the town’s businesses. Without their support, we would not be able to deliver any of the services provided. Our audiences have continued to grow across the board. As reported to our steering group at the end of September, our combined digital audience now tops 47,000.

In the last quarter, we have created and published fifty videos just on Facebook – the vast majority featuring businesses to promote their products and services.

Our following across the town’s catchment and wider drive-time continues to grow …

Some businesses are active on digital channels and we also engage to share their own content; others are not so interactive: we create and publish short videos that drive our audience online to find more information, using the business directories that sit on our Blog to help provide more information.Throughout the quarter, we have continued our weekly ambassador visits – gathering content that is then shared through our channels – day by day. Through the three months, we have published more than 400 posts through our Facebook page as well as content via our support channels.

All has helped to ensure our levels of engagement and interaction continue to grow …

In addition to our social media channels, we are also able to feature regular content via our Blog and e-shots. The map below shows the home locations of those using our Blog throughout Q3 as well as how they have arrived at the Blog. We are very pleased to see that those using ‘organic search’ increasing as more people seek and find relevant content through our site.

Our Blog is a ‘go to’ resource for many covering all manner of topics. More and more visitors are using the business listings to find products and services in the town. As examples, JACS Joinery & Construction Supplies continues to ride high with more than 100 clicks on their listings page since the start of this quarter. More than 50 people have used the listing to find more information on the newly refurbished Cupar Arms Hotel … and our Blog on the new retail park remains one of the most read articles with over 800 views, just in the last three months.

Our readership continues to grow: the map below shows the numbers by home location according to Google Analytics’ reporting …

In the last quarter, we have featured blogs on a wide range – from a local book telling the story of the history of Italian families settling in Fife to Kip McGrath’s relocation from the Granary on Coal Road to their new HQ on St Catherine Street, from Eden Valley Campers (co-owned by a Cupar business and family) and a new ‘CuparNow KnowHow’ feature on local architectural practice, Montgomery Forgan Associates to sharing the fund-raising efforts of Cunningham Grant Chartered AccountantsAll of our posts and features are helping to spread the word on Cupar. If you’d like your business to feature, just follow this link, complete the questionnaire and we will be back in touch.

We also manage two databases: a B2B to help us engage with those businesses who are subscribed to receive our updates as well as a B2C consumer listing of those who have signed-up via our free Wi-Fi service.

They receive monthly e-shots sharing news, promotions and events from the town. We are able to see demographic data of those using the service in the town centre and that is helping us to plan extensions to the network to support other parts of the town.

If you run a business in town are are NOT on our B2B database, simply click here to tell us who you are – and we’ll be back in touch to confirm your details and add you.

The following provides a snapshot of our Q3 digital delivery and impact …

Community counts …

CuparNow is ‘by business, for business‘ and all that we do is guided by that principle – not least of all because it is the investment made by the town’s contributing businesses that funds our services. But through their support, we are able to deliver so much more for the benefit of the town and our community.

This has very much come to play in the last quarter. Since before Christmas 2020, we have worked with more than a dozen community groups and organisations who were wanting to avoid another year of cancelled events.The groups included …

  1. Cupar Amateur Musical Society
  2. Cupar Arts
  3. Castlehill Community Centre
  4. Cupar Community Council
  5. Cupar Development Trust
  6. Cupar in Bloom
  7. Cupar Museum & Heritage Centre
  8. C In The Park
  9. Falkland Society
  10. Fife Folk Museum
  11. Kilmaron School
  12. Rotary Club of Cupar
  13. The Sunshine Kitchen
  14. The Lighthouse
  15. Three Estates Cupar

The result of the collaboration was the Celebration Weekend 2021 – a collection of events and activities designed to showcase all that the town has to offer. Our part was to help in the communication and promotion of the weekend.

Through August, we created and updated our Blog (more than 40 times) with information from the organisers to help keep all informed. Leaflets including a town may we designed, printed and 4,000 were printed for delivery to businesses across the town centre who kindly distributed them to customers in the final countdown.

On the weekend itself, we helped to capture and share video clips via Facebook …

We are also very pleased to have set up a partnership with the town’s Camera Club …

Members of Cupar Camera Club shot hundreds of images to help create a unique archive. A selection of those images will soon be put to a public nomination to choose the one image that best captures the celebration. That will be shared later this month through our Blog.

We were also delighted to help publicise the Cupar Concert as part of the weekend. More is in the weekend’s review, but you are able to view through the orchestra’s own YouTube recording …

The same weekend coincided with the Castlehill Community Association’s Great Toy Giveaway: we helped to make people aware of the event and more than 350 toys were handed out to children and families from across Cupar.

The weekend following the Celebration was Cupar’s inaugural Gathering of Societies with more than 20 community groups taking part … a huge thank you to the organisers, Rotary Club of Cupar and the Cupar & District Community Council for creating this unique event. Gina Logan, Chair of the Cupar & District Community Council thanked all who attended adding: “Cupar has a lot to offer and this was a great opportunity to tell people about what goes on in the town.” She added: “As Chairman of the Community Council I enjoyed meeting people and finding out what they want in the town. Hopefully we can build on this, and it can be bigger and better next time.“ CuparNow helped in encouraging community groups to get involved and in the promotion of the event itself – both before and on the day. We visited at the outset and created a short video before the gathering started. That video can be viewed via our Facebook page.

Our Community Directory continues to be well used as a resource to find information on more than 80 community groups across the town. We are looking to expand the resource to include community groups in Cupar’s catchment area. If you run or work with such a group and would like it considered for our list, please drop us a line with your details.

Cupar & District – our expanding community

KY15 … KY16 ... KY14 …

Combined, our audience now tops 47,000 people – across all ages …

As before, the stats are slightly skewed as not all platform use the same agre groupings, but the figures are a fair representation. That said, measuring those U18 is not so easy as most social media platforms are for 13+ and Google Analytics don’t include those under 18 … so we know we are reaching more than the figure given.

The vast majority of our audiences live and work within Cupar’s KY15 postcode area, so most of our content creation and sharing is made for them. The scale of our audience – and their advocacy – means we have become a resource for useful information. As an example, more and more businesses are using us to help advertise jobs. If you run a business in town and have a vacancy you’d like us to share, please drop us an email with the details.


Community Fund

CuparNow oversees a small fund to help lend support to community initiatives. In the last quarter we have been please to support Duffus Tennis Club and Cupar & District Pipe Band.

If you run a community group and need support, please get in touch. We can’t promise to help, but we will do all we can to do so – just use this link to email us.


Culture & Tourism

Thousands of people visited Cupar on the Celebration Weekend of the 17-19 September and we registered levels of digital engagement higher than at any time since we launched CuparNow. Through September alone, our Facebook page had more than 20,000 people engaging with the content we were creating – liking, commenting and sharing.

We know tourists are not back in their pre-lockdown numbers, but more and more people are enjoying staycation breaks closer to home, and our channels are attracting engagement from people right across Fife and the east of Scotland.

And so we are keen to share more on the town’s attractions. In the last quarter – as well as all of the community collaboration over events – we have featured Cupar’s Museum & Heritage Centre and their tenth anniversary celebrations. In the coming quarter, we will be working with them on a project for 2022 that we hope will help to showcase people’s stories to tell the story of the town’s history and heritage as seen through the eyes of residents and visitors.

We have also worked in partnership with Cupar Development Trust – with some funding support from the Regional Food Fund – to make Cupar the centre of a series of new Food & Drink Trails. Each of the above trails starts and finishes in Cupar, ensuring we are helping to drive visitor numbers and interaction to the benefit of the town.

Just click on the map image below to visit the site: it includes a filtering system to enable the visitors to choose the type of food & drink offering they want – and each business’ own page then features contact information and digital links to enable the user to find more. We will be sharing more on this through Q4 to ensure businesses across all sectors can benefit from engagement.

As part of the Food & Drink Trails, we will also be running a series of events later in the year for businesses in the sector – looking at communication as well as training and employment. More will be shared via our B2B communication in the coming weeks.

If you run a food or drink business in or around Cupar and would like more information, just click on this link to complete our Food & Drink Trail Questionnaire and we will be back in touch.


Education & Training

We continue to offer free advice and support to those businesses who ask for it on digital communication and best use of social media. If you run a business or organisation in town and require help and advice on your digital needs, please send us an email via this link with your questions or outline plans and we will be back in touch to set up a 1-2-1 meeting.

As highlighted at our open meeting at the end of July, we have been working closely with Bell Baxter High School. We are delighted to be helping them with their S3/4 class on an exciting Wellbeing Garden Project. Going forward, we are working with them to help the school engage with businesses over pupil recruitment, apprenticeships and opportunities for volunteering in the town.


Our Environment

Wherever we can, we support environmental initiatives in the town. This has covered engagement with numerous partners and stakeholders.

Most recently, we have created posters that are on display in town with a QR code to help visitors make the most of Cupar’s Interpretive Signage on a one and a half mile walk around the town.

On a separate level, our work in supporting the town is to promote Cupar as a sustainable community. #ShopLocal is a well used phrase, but it is not just about supporting local businesses. The more we all buy locally, the less environmental impact there is on our wider world.There is much talk of ‘twenty minute towns’ where residents should have access to all they need in that travel time. Cupar offers a huge range of products and services – and we will continue to work hard on CuparNow’s unique ‘whole town’ approach. To that end – we have also just published posters with a trackable QR code to help showcase the wider town’s offering – the trading and industrial estates as well as the business parks.


Health & Social Care

Our delivery has a social benefit – enabling residents and visitors to find information on the town’s offering and encouraging all to share the same. Throughout the last 18 months, many have turned to our channels to find key information and support, especially for the most vulnerable.

We continue to work with Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, Dementia Friendly Fife, Fife Voluntary Action and other service providers to disseminate information that helps to support our audience. At the end of Q3, we published a blog on the unique work being delivered by Toby’s Magical Journey, the Cupar-based charity which supports children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Just click on the image of Toby below for more …


Economic Development

By far and away our most important task is to support businesses: they are the lifeblood of the town driving investment, employment and training opportunities.

In our first year of operation, there were some 475 businesses who contributed to the running of CuparNow through the annual levy. At the start of this year we published our first annual report and the Steering Group (made up of business owners and managers who oversee our work) agreed to remove some 50. That decision was taken as they had little or no consumer-facing element to their operation. Ongoing, they will make no further contribution.

Of the 421 businesses remaining, sadly some see no value in what we deliver and have refused to contribute. Going forward, we will continue to work and support all those who pay their annual levies – and we want more to be done to support all those who do contribute.

We are delighted to announce a unique collaboration between CuparNow and ABCD, the Association of Businesses for Cupar & District. With effect from this summer, all levy-paying businesses will become members of ABCD. The membership fees are being covered by CuparNow’s contingency. The move will provide better support and representation for businesses across the town.

ABCD was formed in 2004 and, historically, has primarily represented the interests of town centre businesses.

Following feedback received at a series of open sessions this summer and meetings with businesses from across Cupar, all levy-paying businesses in the town will automatically become members of the Business Association from this year …

James Hair, who became Chair of ABCD at their AGM this July, described the collaboration as “transformational” saying: “The Association is the main point of contact between the town’s business community and Fife Council on matters relating to planning, economic development and more.” James adds: “CuparNow’s support – especially through their ability to manage integrated communication – adds significant influence that will help us to collaborate and campaign to the benefit of the town.

ABCD is involved in statutory consultations that affect the town and its businesses – not just in the town centre but across the whole of Cupar, including the business park and trading estate as well as the new retail park. James says: “Historically, the Association’s members have been town centre based. We are working with many organisations to showcase Cupar as a 21st century market town. The town’s appeal extends far beyond the centre and rightly includes each and every business across Cupar and, increasingly, in its rural catchment.

Alison Strachan, Chair of CuparNow’s Steering Group, welcomes the partnership and explains how it will work: “There is no fee for anyone to pay. CuparNow will make that contribution out of our contingency funds to ensure each and every levy-paying business is recognised as a member of ABCD.” She adds: “It adds real weight to both and, more importantly, helps to give Cupar a much louder voice when it comes to campaigning for what is needed for our business community.

Any business who does not wish to be a member of ABCD under this new arrangement can simply request not to be included.

In the coming weeks, more information will be shared. One of the first initiatives that will be delivered by the collaboration will be a survey of the town’s businesses. Poster sites are being considered to help promote businesses across the town and consideration is also being given to a town map to be made available to visitors to the town in 2022.


Followers, readers, subscribers, viewers and listeners …

This unique and award-winning project would be nothing without our audiences – so thank you!

Since the outset – at ground zero with no audience at all – it is your engagement that’s liking, commenting, and sharing with friends, family and colleagues at home and abroad that has enabled CuparNow’s audience to become the fastest growing and largest digital audience (by population) of any town or city in Scotland.

Today, we are managing …

These create a combined audience of more than 47,500.

Supporting our Town

All that we do combines to help make Cupar a better-promoted and more economically viable town, whether sharing content from Cupar’s training and education providers or showcasing environmental projects, supporting the area’s health and social care partnerships or highlighting the work of local charities and good causes … our day to day engagement is designed to benefit our whole town. We are working with hundreds of businesses and organisations to help deliver this unique project.

From the outset, the project’s Steering Group has wanted to make it financially viable. As a result, when we wrote the business plan in 2018/19, it was agreed that – in the event of a successful ballot – the majority of businesses will pay an annual levy of £100.00 as their contribution to the service.

This is how each levy is spent:

As a result of each levy-paying business’ support, we are able to deliver so much. Those businesses who choose to engage receive the best value in return.

Sadly, some choose to refuse – not following our pages, not signing-up to receive our regular updates and opting out from our ambassador visits. As a result, and inevitably, they will see a different level of support – at their choice.

As from the outset, our work is overseen and guided by the CuparNow steering group – a team of volunteers, business led with elected and officer representation from the local authority. We thank them all for their help and support.


Need more?

This is a snapshot update. Any business or organisation in and around Cupar can contact us at any time through a variety of channels – our social media channels, by email or phone. Just call 01334 870858, leave your name, nature of your enquiry and a number where we can reach you and we will call you back. We can arrange face to face (where possible), meetings via Zoom or just a chat to see how we can help.

Our next update will be our second Annual Report and will be published in early January 2022 covering Q4 and a review of the whole year.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on how we might improve our service, please let us know. And if you’d like your name to be put forward to join our Steering Group, please drop us an email explaining who you are, the business/organisation you own/represent and why you’d like to be on the group.

Finally, if you run a business and want to be keep up to date on all we are delivering, please make sure you are following us on the pages and channels most relevant to you.

If you have any questions, simply click here to email us, and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.


Thanks for reading.