THE FINAL COUNTDOWN …
We’re in the final stages of the CuparNow Ballot. It closes on Thursday 12th December – so if you have not yet voted, please ensure your Ballot papers are returned by that date. You can even deliver it to the Council Chamber on St Catherine Street as they have a sealed ballot box.
The video (below) is a Q&A about the project that was created from feedback we canvased and received through the Open Meetings this summer – as well as from face to face visits with businesses who asked us questions.
We first published this video in September and promoted the video to Facebook users in Cupar. Since it went live, the video has attracted more than 14,000 views – over 2,000 of which have seen folk watch all five minutes and 13 seconds.
If you run a business in town and you haven’t watched it, please do and – if you have any questions whatsoever – please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Yet to vote?
Right from the outset of this project (in September 2018), we have wanted to ensure all are as aware as they can be of what CuparNow is trying to deliver. We have also never hidden that, when it comes to businesses and organisations who are paying non-domestic rates, the continuance of the project relies on your support and a commitment to pay an annual levy.
In our efforts to be open we have …
- Generated media coverage from the outset in local and regional press as well as on regional TV
- Shared hundreds of letters and updates – hand delivered to businesses and organisations across the town during the year
- Published updates on our Blog and Social Media channels
- E-shot businesses for whom we have had email addresses – more than a dozen have been sent between January and the Ballot start
- Created a guide to the project that was sent out with every Ballot paper
- Run a series of Open Meetings – in May, June, July, August, September, October and November – giving updates on CuparNow with Q&A sessions
- Have you received the Ballot paper? If not – and you wish to vote – you will have to email Emma.Whyte@fife.gov.uk at Fife Council to request a replacement. The Ballot is an official process overseen by the local authority’s electoral office. They have to issue replacements.
- If you have received a Ballot paper and have any questions, please do not hesitate to ccontact us as soon as possible. We’ll happily arrange to meet. Alternatively, all are invited to our 8th and final Open Meeting where we’ll present the project’s remit and delivery – and include a Q&A session. Our last meeting will be at Fife Voluntary Action (next to the Post Office on Crossgate) on Tuesday 3rd December from 1630-1830.
- If you have received the Ballot paper and have already cast your vote, we’d very much appreciate if you’re able to tell us how you voted so we can add to our canvassed returns. This will also ensure we are not chasing people unnecessarily in the closing days.
Yes, there is a levy …
Right from the very outset – at the open meeting held in June 2018 when the town’s Business Association agreed unanimously to back the CuparNow demonstration project – we have been open about the project’s delivery and, if the Ballot votes to adopt the Digital Improvement District model, that businesses and organisations will pay an annual levy based on their non-domestic business rateable value. That levy will pay for the services and support being delivered – all of which has been agreed by the project’s steering group and is detailed in the Business Plan.
The following is one of the frames from our video that explains the levy charges: two thirds of the town’s businesses and organisations will pay just £100 per annum.
In the project’s demonstration phase – the costs of which were covered by the Scottish Government, Digital Scotland and Fife Council – CuparNow has built an engaged audience across digital channels that exceeds 10,000. Daily engagement, sharing of bespoke content and interaction with multiple audiences has ensured a reach of more than 1m, with video being the key driver. In the last 12 months, videos featuring the town’s businesses, events and community projects have clocked more than 250,000 views on Facebook alone – all amplifying the town as never before.
Championed by ABCD (the town’s business association), CuparNow is supporting businesses and organisations on digital channels with key objectives of:
- encouraging new strategic collaborations
- increasing digital participation in the town as well as
- improving the digital skills of those engaged – all with an ambition to
- showcase how digital can be best deployed to support towns across the country
Alison Strachan, Chair of ABCD – and also chair of the CuparNow business-led steering group – says the campaign is in the “final push”, explaining: “We have held open meetings every month since May – and have also met with many businesses who have asked questions of the project. We have received some fantastic feedback from the majority of those who have engaged with the initiative. We have one final Open Meeting – to be held at Fife Voluntary Action on Crossgate at 1630-1830 on Tuesday 3rd December – where we will be available to answer any questions ahead of the final votes being cast.”
Alison adds: “This whole project originates from the Digital Towns Programme 2017-18 when towns from across Scotland came together to ask how digital might best support businesses and their communities. ABCD – as Cupar’s business association – grabbed the opportunity to be the demonstration project and we very much hope all recognise not only the effort that has gone in to delivering all that’s been achieved to date but, more importantly, the considerable opportunities a YES vote will give to our town.”
Businesses, organisations, community partners, local charities and fund-raising initiatives, cultural and tourism projects, the town’s schools and college, environmental groups as well as health and social care partnerships have all benefited from CuparNow’s delivery – ensuring Cupar’s collective message is heard by more people than ever before.
Alison adds: “The CuparNow blog – featuring profiles on our town’s companies and community groups – has been read by people in more than 500 cities across more than 60 countries. The Cupar message is reaching more people both at home and abroad. Showcasing the town’s vibrancy and appeal has to be a real and significant benefit to all of us who choose to invest in Cupar – whether running businesses or living in this great town.”
But Alison stresses there is “no complacency” among those supporting the project, adding: “Every single vote counts. We want to demonstrate to all businesses and organisations that they can and will receive direct benefits if they back this world-first – benefits to them as well as to our community that all helps to sustain Cupar.”
And there’s more …
We have numerous testimonies explaining how CuparNow has helped. It is working on all fronts – raising awareness, increasing enquiries and visits (both physical and online), generating new business, new customers and new sales. It is also delivering improved digital participation and skills right across the community – all helping to make Cupar a vibrant and attractive destination that benefits all who are invested in the town.
Full information on the project’s background, plan and objectives, management, achievements and testimonials can be found via this link: http://bit.ly/MoreOnCuparNow – but nothing beats a direct conversation. If you’d like to meet or speak with us – please get in touch. We want every business to understand and see the benefits that CuparNow will continue to deliver with your support.
Ballot papers have been issued giving your business a vote: to continue, we have to win a majority by number as well as by rateable value of those voting.
VOTE YES – you will commit to paying an annual levy on your non-domestic rate for the next five years to fund the ongoing work. Based on the demonstration phase of this unique project, we are confident that CuparNow will deliver at least the value of your contribution in digital support and benefits to your company as a return on your investment in our community.
VOTE NO? The project ends immediately – removing all the channels, the free town Wi-Fi and all of our support for businesses and the Cupar community.
We very much hope you are able to vote YES to be a part of the UK’s first Digital Improvement District – to benefit from the services highlighted and to demonstrate your company’s CSR commitment to the Cupar community.
THE FUTURE OF THIS UNIQUE PROJECT RESTS WITH YOU. THANK YOU.
Please come to our final Open Meeting is on Tuesday 3rd December to be held at Fife Voluntary Action’s offices on Crossgate (next to the Post Office) at 1630-1830. Again, this will explain the project and include a Q&A.