Posted on Friday 26 May 2023

in Press releases

Young Lives vs Cancer announces the closure of its charity shops 

Young Lives vs Cancer, UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people and their families, has today (Friday 26 May) announced its chain of 13 shops will close over the next 18 months.

The charity consulted with staff and engaged with affected volunteers about the proposed closures following a review of its shops. The review looked at projected income generation, running and maintenance costs, and conditions on the high street when considering their ability to generate money to fund Young Lives vs Cancer’s services for children and young people with cancer.

Last year their shops generated a net income of approximately £450,000, but that is a lower return on investment than the charity can achieve through other income generating activity.

Young Lives vs Cancer’s chain of 13 shops are located in Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire. The closures, which will happen between June 2023 and January 2025, mean that up to 39 roles will be affected, as well as 300 volunteer posts.

Luke Mallett, Director of Income and Engagement at Young Lives vs Cancer 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.”

He added: “Our expectation is that the shops will stay open until their individual leases end. This means some shops will remain open for the next 18 months, and we will keep the local communities updated as our plans progress.


Notes to editors

Young Lives vs Cancer 2021-22 annual report states the charity’s retail shops made a net loss of £1.4m. Please note this net loss can be considered abnormal and arose for two exceptional reasons:  

  1. Dilapidations: £1m was put aside in FY21-22 to cover the future cost of repairs and maintenance. This was a one-off exceptional item and related to a future liability built up over a number of years and isn’t reflective of typical ongoing costs.  
  1. Covid: Some shops were closed for some of FY 21-22 due to Covid and re-opened after the second lockdown in 2021.   


Central overheads for 2021-22 were £0.3m which has been consistent at that level for a number of years.

For more information, please contact Young Lives vs Cancer’s Media Team on or call 0844 848 1189

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