39 roles at risk as cancer charity confirms shops closures

26 May 2023 News

Young Lives vs Cancer has confirmed it will press ahead with plans to close its chain of 13 charity shops over the next 18 months, affecting up to 39 paid roles as well as 300 volunteer posts.

The charity consulted staff on the planned closures at the end of last month and has now confirmed it will close all 13 of its shops – located in Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire – as their individual leases end between June 2023 and January 2025.

It recorded a £1.4m net loss on its retail activity in the year to March 2022, according to the charity’s most recently filed accounts, with a one-off cost of £1m for shop dilapidations and around £300,000 in central support overheads contributing to this.

The charity said the shops’ financial performance in 2022-23 was improved, generating a net profit of approximately £450,000, but said that was still a lower return on investment than the charity could achieve through other income generating activity.

‘Other income channels could generate more’

Luke Mallett, director of income and engagement at the charity, said: “The difficult decision to close Young Lives vs Cancer’s chain of charity shops has only been made after detailed consideration of the options.

“Our shops have played a big role in funding our vital services, but as a charity that does not receive sustained government funding, we need to do all we can to raise as much money as we can to run and develop our services for children and young people with cancer.  

“We’ve compared the cost of running and maintaining our shops and how much money they raise with other fundraising methods, but the investment needed to run our shops is significant.

“At a time that costs are rising for everyone but especially for children and young people with cancer and their families, it is vital every investment we make in growing income to deliver our services, and the increasing needs of families, is scrutinised.

“In the instance of retail, it was clear that other income generation channels could in the future generate more, at less of a cost.   

“We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of our shop staff and volunteers and know this is a very difficult time for them.

“Many have dedicated years, and in some cases decades, to the charity and they have all made a huge difference to the young people and families we support.

“Our volunteers are second to none, and we are providing support for them with finding what’s next for them either with Young Lives vs Cancer or elsewhere.” 

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