A Scottish Government support programme to help Scottish towns reach their full digital potential was launched today by Scotland's Towns Partnership.
The Digital Towns Pilot Programme offers funding support and expert industry advice to towns seeking to develop innovative and collaborative digital strategies.
Digital technologies and skills could be a game changer for many towns across Scotland, linking travel and tourism to local markets, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and promoting social inclusion.
Town centre managers, city neighbourhoods and Business Improvement Districts are being encouraged to apply for the programme, outlining how additional support and expert advice could help develop their digital strategy and align local partnership.
Successful applications will become ‘Digital Towns Pilots’, acting as examples of best practice for towns across Scotland in the development and deployment of digital strategies.
The programme is the latest stage in Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s work to support ‘Digital Towns’, and follows the publication of Digital Towns Guidance in March this year, which was drafted with input from key public, private and third sector stakeholders.
In a sign of increasing collaboration around the digital agenda, STP is also pleased to announce that David Wallace, BT’s Director of Public Sector Business in Scotland, is joining STP’s board.
BT has around 100 Public Sector customers in Scotland. Upon assuming the role earlier this year, one of David’s first tasks was to outline BT’s digital strategy for Scottish towns and cities to a cross-party audience at the Scottish Parliament.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland's Towns Partnership said:
“Defining what you mean by a "Digital Town" is the starting point for this programme. We need to see digital being deployed more strategically across Scotland and welcome this fund from the Scottish Government, which should help encourage more collaboration and provide us with examples of best practice”.
“We are also really pleased to announce that David Wallace, BT Scotland's Head of Major and Public Sector will be joining the board of STP. As we develop the Digital Towns agenda and product offering, David's insight and BT's investment capabilities will help us drive these approaches faster and further”.
David Wallace, BT Director - Major & Public Sector, said:
“Modern towns face tough challenges, with rising populations and rapid growth putting pressure on local services, housing and transport. Smart use of technology, including data collection and interrogation, will help address these big issues.
“Collective action is needed to help Scotland’s towns to thrive, and I’m looking forward to working closely with STP to explore how ICT can contribute. One way or another, BT is a stakeholder in every community in Scotland. The rapid expansion of high-speed services will revolutionise work, leisure and the economic life of our towns and places.”
More information about the Digital Towns Pilot Programme and application form can be accessed here.