Cupar digital improvement district project hosting event for businesses

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CuparNow – Scotland’s first ‘digital improvement district’ – is holding an open meeting for all Cupar businesses as a Q&A session to help explain the project.

The open forum – the first in a series of monthly drop-in sessions – will be held on Tuesday at Fife Voluntary Action on Crossgate between 8.30-9.30am.

Simon Baldwin of Destination Digital, the company delivering the project, explained the forum, saying: “CuparNow is a demonstration project funded by the Scottish Government, Digital Scotland and Fife Council.

“In November, businesses in the town will be asked to vote on whether the project continues – at their cost.

“It will seek a contribution of one per cent of their non-domestic business rate.

“We’re in business and we know that whenever we spend money, we want to know the return.

“This forum – the first of a monthly programme – will provide an opportunity for any business to see what CuparNow is delivering, to hear what the project and plan will deliver going forward – and to understand the return on investment.”

At the event, businesses will also have the opportunity to hear news on a separate project that is being supported by the digital improvement district – Inclusive Cupar.

The first of its kind in the UK, it will see Cupar businesses enhance their reputation by improving the provision of access information across the destination.

The project will put the Fife 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.

Simon Baldwin added: “The demand for improved accessibility is growing rapidly. It has never been more crucial for businesses to ensure they are properly connecting with their audience.

“OOVIRT’s innovative and transparent approach, will enable businesses to showcase their venue and tap into the UK’s multi-billion accessibility market.”

The project is a collaboration with Scotland’s Towns Partnerships (STP), which is helping to drive innovation across Scottish destinations.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of STP, said: “More destinations need to adopt a place-based approach.

“All those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place need to work and plan together, and with local communities, to improve the lives of people and support inclusive growth and create more successful places.”

Richard Meiklejohn, managing director at OOVIRT, said: “Research has shown that disabled people, their families and friends, believe many venues could do more to help people access the information they need.

“It benefits wheelchair users, pregnant mothers or young families, older people and those living with autism amongst others to know exactly how accessible a venue or destination will be for them.

Mr Meiklejohn added: “We use first hand experiences to provide the quality accessibility information that will make their visit more enjoyable, whether it’s to a retail space or tourism venue”.