Three Years On
TestTown piloted in Dunfermline in 2013, after two years of planning and development. The project was run by the Carnegie UK Trust working with Fife Council and local BID Dunfermline Delivers as local hosts, and set a challenge for 16-30 year olds to come up with innovative business uses for town centre spaces. Three years on we are able to reflect and see what effect hosting TestTown had on Dunfermline. Out of the eight vacant units used by the Testtown finalists, six are now occupied by independent businesses. Encouraged by the success of TestTown, the town set up their own local ‘TestTown’ style event titled ‘Venture Street’ in 2014 funded and supported by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust. Eight businesses plus a unit run by school pupils breathed new life into vacant properties in the Bruce Street area for six weeks leading up to Christmas, and graduates from that programme have gone on to set up businesses.
“Eight businesses plus a unit run by school pupils breathed new life into vacant properties in the Bruce Street area for six weeks leading up to Christmas, and graduates from that programme have gone on to set up businesses.”
The local authority, business improvement district and other local agencies have all developed enterprise support strategies to back more businesses locally. This first TestTown project taught us the importance of building a strong local coalition, across sectors, to maximise the impact of the activity.
Words of Advice
I would advertise the event on local radio stations and also in the local newspaper to create local interest in the town to raise awareness of the event. As not everyone who shops in the town uses the internet.’
TestTown 2015 Participant
Have plenty of time to be on hand during trading as working with lots of stakeholders and businesses is very time consuming. It is key to manage the expectations of the participants e.g. they will not all make lots of money during their first day of trade.
TestTown 2015 Host
The animation of the town centre through pop-ups and performances created a wonderful atmosphere for new and returning shoppers.
TestTown 2015 Host