WOW! We are absolutely thrilled that the engaged audience we are growing – that’s you – is now the fastest growing of any improvement district across Scotland. CuparNow only launched at the end of 2018 and has already grown an engaged social media audience of more than 3,000. The speed of our audience development puts Cupar at the top of the table against every other improvement district – including those in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Students at Bell Baxter High School – 36 of them – are about to take to the stage at The Byre Theatre in St Andrews to perform a new musical – The Darien Gap – created by the school. We caught up with drama teacher, Richard Robb, who has co-written the production with fellow teacher, Craig McNicol, to discover their three year plan that comes to life this June …
A new project, the first of its kind in the UK, will see Cupar businesses enhance their reputation by improving the provision of access information. The project will put the town on the map as an accessible destination and is the latest development from OOVIRT, a Dundee-based company that produces virtual experiences with a specific aim to help make venues more inclusive to all.
One in five of us has some kind of disability. As Scotland’s (and the world’s) first Digital Improvement District, we’re delighted to have been chosen to pilot a new platform that will help to highlight Cupar’s accessibility, to help demonstrate that we’re open for all … to deliver a collaborative project that will showcase Cupar as a world-leading inclusive destination. Here’s how …
If you’re in town by the market cross, feel free to use the new CuparNow free Wi-Fi service that’s available to all.
CuparNow is fully up and running. What does that mean? This is our first update in 2019 where we’ll keep everyone posted on the project’s progress. If you have any questions about the project at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Steering Group: the project’s business-led steering group has been created; the group has met once pre-Christmas and will meet again in January to look at the project’s development. The group is:
- George Cunningham – Lynn Cunningham, Chartered Accountants
- Fiona Houston – J&T Rodger, Cupar Pet Shop & Equine Store
- Grant Hughes – The Press Cafe & Bistro
- Heather Davidson – Rollos Solicitors & Estate Agents
- Alison Strachan – Maisie & Mac
- Stuart Minick – Minick of Cupar
- Representing Fife Council
- Margaret Kennedy
- Janice Laird
Ambassador Visits: our Ambassador (Sally Fraser) is visiting businesses in Cupar on a weekly basis; since the start of the project, we have visited more than 110 businesses across the town. The reason for the visits? To gather content that businesses want to share and promote – whatever that may be. It helps us very much if we are able to photograph and video products on display. A number of businesses ask that we simply take shots from their own web sites or social media pages – but our service is very much about the here and now – what’s in store now – allowing us to tell that story for the benefit of the growing audiences.
Digital Channels: The content that we gather – from our Ambassador visits, from following known pages of businesses and organisations in the town as well as information sent to us direct – is then planned and scheduled to be published on a variety of digital channels – this Blog, our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Those channels are monitored seven days a week so that we interact with people who engage on the shared content. You can see from the following that a combination of organic and paid for posts ensures we are reaching people every day …
Video Content: a major part of our content management is the creation of short video clips that are shared; each features products and services from businesses and organisations in the town. You can see from the following that the videos we have created have helped to generate more than 30,000 views – equal to over 150 hours of viewed content since the project started.
Event Support: CuparNow is about supporting multiple audiences in Cupar – businesses, organisations, community groups and all. To that end, we feature as many events as possible on the project’s Facebook page: if you are planning or running an event in Cupar, or have an event close to Cupar that is being run for the community’s benefit, please get in touch with us so we can help to share with our audience. You can do so by messaging us through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – or by emailing our delivery team direct on firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is an example of the events that feature currently. We’d like to thank Irene Lodge who has added us to her mailing list – keeping us posted on many events each month.
Cupar’s Profile & Awareness: we talked of ‘multiple audiences’; part of our remit is to demonstrate how a digital ‘umbrella’ can best help to collate and amplify messaging for the town. The following shows the level of engagement we have helped to generate just on Facebook in the last 28 days …
Who is in? Even thought the project’s official launch was only at the end of November 2018, it is attracting a great deal of interest from businesses and organisations both inside and outwith Cupar. Our remit is to support those in Cupar. A formal boundary for the project will be agreed by the steering group this month. If we receive requests for sharing content from businesses and organisations outwith the town, our guiding principle is that, unless it benefits Cupar and the Cupar community, we will not share it as it is likely to be in direct competition with those in the town. Businesses in outlying villages – from Ladybank to Craigrothie, Ceres to Dairsie – are getting in touch to ask for support. We’d love to say ‘yes’ to everyone, but we can’t – as yet.
We hope this explains why …
- The CuparNow project is a 15 month demonstration pilot funded by the Scottish Government, Digital Scotand and Fife Council.
- It is looking to prove the concept of a Digital Improvement District (the first of its kind anywhere in the world) that will support multiple audiences including non-domestic rate paying businesses in Cupar.
- The project runs from 1st September 2018 to the 29th November this year.
- On that date, there will be a ballot of all non-domestic rate paying businesses and organisations within the agreed boundary of the Improvement District.
- If they vote in favour of continuing CuparNow, a five year term will begin where those businesses and organisations will pay an annual levy of 1% over and above their non-domestic rate to fund the continued delivery.
- If the Steering Group agrees, CuparNow may well be open to support businesses and organisations outwith the boundary on an opt-in basis: this would see businesses and organisations opting in to make a paid contribution toward CuparNow in return for inclusion in the day-to-day service. That decision will be taken before the ballot is held and we will report on it in a future update.
A Business Plan for the service’s delivery has been agreed by the Steering Group and an outline timetable has been created by CuparNow in liaison with Fife Council.
The business-led steering group also includes local councillor, Margaret Kennedy, as well as Janice Laird, Service Manager Adult Learning & Inclusion at Fife Council and Community Manager for North East Fife and we will include them in all our communications. In line with the Business Plan, we will continue to update all interested parties through a number of communication channels that will include:
- This Blog – updated regularly with the content being shared via the project’s main social media channel, Facebook.
- One-to-one contact & consultations – with businesses and organisations through our Ambassador visits.
- Business to business – issued via a managed MailChimp database that we are creating to support the project.
- Business to consumer – the Wi-Fi provision delivered as part of the CuparNow service will data capture; the emails we gather will help to create a database for us to share content direct with those using the service.
- Forum Meetings – we are planning quarterly forum meetings which will be open to all businesses and organisations covered by the project.
- Media Coverage – we will issues regular updates to the local media (broadcast, published and online).
As always if you have any questions, please get in touch.
Thanks for reading!
CuparNow – the project trialling a new digital improvement district in Scotland – has been launched by businesses in the town with the backing of the Scottish Government, Digital Scotland & Fife Council.
It has been a long time in the planning. CuparNow launches next week (Wednesday 28th November 2018) to deliver a unique project that will be supporting multiple audiences across the town. We spoke with those behind the project to best understand what’s being delivered …