Closing Chelmsford Community Radio Community Coffee Shop

Chelmsford Community Radio 104.4FM

23 September ·
Friday 23 September 2022 – Chelmsford Community Radio Moulsham Mill, Chelmsford


Chelmsford Community Radio, the local radio station in Chelmsford, is sad to announce the permanent closure of ‘Coffee at the Mill’, the community coffee shop based in Moulsham Mill, Chelmsford.

Since opening in 2014, all profit made from the coffee shop and takeaway has helped pay the running costs of Radio Station.

The cost of living crisis brings to an end an eight-year project focused on doing good for the Chelmsford Community.

All profit is re-invested back into the coffee shop and the radio station running costs. The shop used funds to run training and deliver outreach work within the local community.

In recent months there has been a significant decline in trade as the cost of living bites. Increased rent, higher energy prices, and supplier cost uncertainty have contributed to the fall.

Quotes for press articles:
“How sad I am to hear my favourite coffee shop is closing; it provided a community space for people to go and have top-quality hot drinks at affordable prices. Anyone on their own soon found people were talking to them, a real treasure of a place. A great loss to our community.”
Jennifer Mclean, a regular customer

Quotes by Matthew Eaves, Co-Director, Chelmsford Community Radio (Unpaid voluntary role):
“We launched the coffee shop in 2014 to enable the community to enjoy affordable barista drinks and tasty food and cakes while funding our radio station to work with people of all ages and abilities to access and broadcast on radio.”
“We held on for as long as we could, but insufficient Government support during Covid coupled with the feeble response right now to support businesses in a time of need has broken us.”
“Over the years, we’ve served thousands of people, hosted activities and events, and provided work experience training for young people interested in catering and catering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.”
“Closing is a tough decision, and not one we wanted to take; we did everything possible to try and save this good cause project from closure.”
“Soaring costs and increased ingredient prices mean we have to keep putting prices up, and with soaring inflation, consumers have less to spend in their pockets and are using us less and spending less when they do.”
“We have no alternative but to stop before we put the radio station finances at risk.”
“Working from home has contributed to fewer workers and businesses based at Moulsham Mill; we’ve also noted more people are bringing lunch to work more often as the cost of living bites.”
“For six years, Coffee at the Mill paid the rent for Chelmsford Community Radio, then the pandemic hit, and the law forced closure. As a community group, we now need to explore new ways to raise the running costs of the radio station; thank you to everyone who worked the counter and every customer who used Coffee at the Mill.”

Notes to Editors:
About the Radio Station:

  • Chelmsford Community Radio 104.4 FM is the Community Radio Station for Chelmsford
  • Community Interest Company, all profit re-invested
  • The radio station is run entirely by volunteers.
  • 60 active volunteers are involved in the Radio Station, the youngest is 13, and the oldest is 80.
  • All programming is locally made and includes contributions from Chelmsford, Massachusetts and Chelmsford’s twin town, Backnang.
  • CCR (Chelmsford Community Radio) was awarded an FM licence by Ofcom in 2015 and began broadcasting on 104.4fm in 2017
  • Chelmsford Community Radio has recently been awarded a five-year extension by Ofcom to continue broadcasting on 104.4fm
  • CCR volunteers have gained experience and employment at BBC Radio, Children’s BBC, ITV, Heart Radio, Radio X, Radio Essex, BFBS, Bauer and other broadcasters worldwide.
  • Covid Support Emergency Appeal in 2020 raised emergency cash (£11k from the Chelmsford Community) to cover the radio station costs through covid due to little to no support by Government:
  • Radio Station launched in 2013 (at the time, Chelmsford (the birthplace of radio) was the only City in the UK without a Community Radio Station)
    About the Coffee Shop:
  • Based below Radio Studio at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford, CM2 7PX in ground floor Mill entrance.
  • Coffee Shop staff are a mix of volunteer and paid staff, paid staff are subject to redundancy.
  • A cafe has been present in Moulsham Mill since 1986; it changed hands three times between 2011 and 2014 before closing for good and sitting empty for six months.
  • Cafe was reopened by Chelmsford Community Radio with support from the local community and businesses and converted into a community coffee shop focused on supporting good causes.
  • National Lottery awarded the coffee shop a refit in 2017 and moved to a larger space at the entrance of Moulsham Mill.
  • Coffee at the Mill (also known as Radio Cafe (2021 rebrand)) operated from 2014 – 2022.
  • Closed for 18 months during the pandemic, exempt from grants and support enjoyed by businesses who pay rates to the council directly (rates were indirect as part of a communal building.
  • In August and September, sales declined by more than 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and running costs increased.
  • Jacket potato wholesale prices have ranged between £5.99 and £20 a box.
  • Wholesale Coffee prices have increased by around 30%.
  • Electricity costs have more than doubled in recent months.
  • Radio Cafe in the final livery
  • Framed photo was taken in 2014 shortly after opening with the original team Charlotte, Justina, Luke and Rob (left to right)

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