A Reading coffee shop has been forced to close its doors after ‘challenging trading conditions have impacted the business in recent months’.

Barista and Beyond café, located on Alfred Street, opened on March 22 2023 as a Today Ways to Work project. The CIC was launched to deliver employment to individuals with various needs and employment barriers.

An announcement issued on the cafe's social media and website has confirmed that it will be closing later this month after less than a year in operation.

Maurice George, Managing Director of Ways into Work said: “We are incredibly grateful for the loyalty and support of our customers, staff, and the entire community since opening.”

“Whilst the commercial success of the café has proved challenging to achieve we feel proud that it has delivered on its social aims”.

The project has hosted several events and societies alongside its café services, including the Reading Hong King Society to the Rotary Club.

Multiple employees were also offered long-term internship placements and work experience placements during the period the café has been opened.

They said in the announcement: “We are particularly proud that we were able to employ two members of staff with learning disabilities and additional needs.

The café has expressed their disappointment and said that it understands that the closure will impact its valuable customers and staff.

Maurice added: “We are committed to supporting our staff through this transition and ensuring a smooth closure process. We also want to express our sincere gratitude to our customers for their continued patronage and wish them all the best.”

According to the notice on their website, the final day of trade will be February 29.

After speaking to business owners across the town a variety of aspects were flagged as contributors to failing businesses. This includes in some cases, energy costs, rising rent and interest rates, and increasing costs for food and drink.