Cancer charity considers closing all its shops

Young Lives vs Cancer has begun consulting with staff and volunteers over plans to close its entire chain of charity shops.

The move could impact all 13 stores at locations across the South West including Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester and Wells, and follows a review into the stores' ability to raise money.

Four other stores are listed on the charity’s website as currently closed, in Shirehampton, Southampton, Nailsea and Barnstable. In addition, its Exmouth store is now permanently closed.

Its latest annual accounts for 2021/22 show that it made a £1.4m loss on its retail trading. A major factor was spending £1m on dealing with “shop dilapidations” as well as “£0.3m central support overheads to trading”.

“Following a review of Young Lives vs Cancer’s retail shops, we are proposing that we close the charity’s chain of 13 shops,” according to a spokesperson for the charity. 

“We have begun a four-week consultation with staff and are engaging with our effected volunteers, and will communicate the final decision following the consultation period.”

The charity also sells donated stock online at its website shop, via ebay as well as its Depop shop “for fashion forward finds”.

The spokesperson said that the review of the charity's shops looked at "their ability to generate, as effectively as our other income generation channels, the money we need to fundraise to support and develop our services for children and young people with cancer".

They added: "Our annual investment into running our chain of charity shops is significant, and costs are rising, the review illustrated that this investment could raise significantly more to support our work over the years ahead, if spent on other income generating activities.

"We know this is a very difficult time for staff and volunteers in our shops, many have been with us for a many years and have made a huge difference to the young people and families we support.

"Nothing has been decided yet, and won’t be until after the end of this consultation. The basis of the decision will be what enables us as a charity do the most for children and young people with cancer.”

Young Lives vs Cancer was formerly known as CLIC Sargent.

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