Colchester’s iconic roller rink, also known as the finest and arguably the largest roller skating rink in Europe, is facing the prospect of closing its doors for good. The owners are reaching out to the local and skating communities to help save DX’s Rollerworld.
May 13th 2020 marked 30 years since opening and over the decades, Rollerworld has seen thousands flock to skate, many have learned to skate on the amazing rink and many parties and special events have happened. Newly named DX’s Rollerworld since new owners Anne and Jason took on the business approx 18 months ago now, has welcomed several celebrities and famous faces throughout the years too, including Phillip Schofield, Dermot O Leary, Ant and Dec, Barbara Windsor and more recently the cast of The Only Way Is Essex and Britain’s Got Talent semi finalists and World Champion skaters, Rosie and Adam.
The impact of the corona virus is affecting so many businesses across the globe, causing a huge number of organizations to suffer in a number of ways. DX’s Rollerworld is no exception, but with such a large venue, in which the finest roller rink in Europe is, comes with some very large overheads. The cost of keeping the building running and functioning and being ready to potentially open again, will soon be impossible with no income at all at the moment, or for the past two months and for potentially many weeks to come.
Jason Khan, owner of DX’s Rollerworld explains how the team has coped so far through the lockdown, “We took over Rollerworld, as a family, in November 2018. It has been extremely challenging to make the improvements and develop the business as we had at first planned to. The Ipswich Road and Harwich Road roundabout works have been ongoing almost as long as we have been the owners. The road works have been a hugely damaging impact on the business and now we are facing an even bigger hurdle with the lockdown, not being able to open and then facing some serious restrictions and social distancing measures when we do.”
Jason continues, “Our family and some of our employees have been volunteering since the lockdown began; doing things that we can only usually do in bursts when we are closed. We have been busy painting, changing worn carpets, washing the floors, weeding the car parks and redecorating throughout, and trying to stay positive, but the situation is frustrating and worrying for us.”
Owners Anne and Jason made a decision to support Colchester’s Foodbank as soon as lockdown started, having supported this community service for some time, and organized previous special events whereby skate entry prices were discounted with the exchange of food products.
Jason says, “We wanted to be able to help our local community at this time and we have a van, so to help the food bank who are located near to us on the Moorside Business Park, was something that didn’t need a second thought. My wife, Anne, and I have been collecting every Friday, on their behalf, from many of the local supermarkets. It is only half a day usually and they really do need help as the need has gone up dramatically and their usual volunteers have been reduced by a third due to the social distancing guidelines.”
In addition to helping the Food Bank and staying positive doing many jobs around the venue, owners Anne and Jason realized that many people, who would ordinarily be celebrating their birthdays by getting together with their friends and family, would not be at this time.
Jason, who had a big birthday recently, added, “It was a big birthday for me and DX’s Rollerworld recently and of course we couldn’t celebrate it as we would have liked. Anne and I thought how many other small, (and big kids like us), missed out on their parties. We wanted to create something to look forward to, and so we have come up with a free entry birthday party for anyone who had a birthday during lockdown, for a date to yet be announced.
We have already had promises of support from entertainers and DJ’s who will be coming to perform for free, and it will be limited on numbers as we will have to be mindful of social distancing, but fortunately, DX’s Rollerworld is a big place!”
Having just started to make the business a success again, following lots of new initiatives, event nights and improvements. Anne says, “We did have reserves in place and these were going towards upgrading to air conditioning the rink for the summer and to expand our roller sports offering here, but no-one could have foreseen being closed for four months, and so this money has been eaten up by the overheads that still have to paid if we are to re-open…and with no income, we had to use this.”
Jason added, “It is a huge concern for us, as we could now be facing closure. We have put all that we can into DX’s Rollerworld and we are doing everything we can possibly do to avoid that happening. As skaters it would be a travesty that Europe’s Finest skating rink closes. Many people won’t know that our rink is in the top 10 roller skating venues in the WORLD!“
It has come to the point where Anne and Jason have started a crowd-funding page, having being nominated as a business that could benefit from this type of scheme.
Anne commented, “Every penny given goes to support and hopefully save DX’s Rollerworld from closure. You can help by making a donation, and we are offering rewards for different amounts contributed, such as discounts on future skating sessions and events, venue hire and one to one coaching, plus some fun speed skating and roller derby introductory sessions and also acknowledgement via our new Wall of Fame and ‘I helped save DX’s Rollerworld’ T-shirts. Take a look and invest in the future of our iconic rink; www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keep-dxsrollerworld-open”
Anne and Jason and the team at DX’s Rollerworld want to thank all that have helped support them so far and for all the kind messages and above all, ask for their customers to stay in touch and be positive. Jason says, “We say to those at the food bank collection, ‘we can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone’. So if it isn’t us you are helping and you can do something for someone else, then don’t hesitate. We are all in this together and will all get out together.”