Young Lives vs Cancer is to close its chain of 13 shops over the next 18 months, following a review and consultation.
Young Lives vs Cancer’s chain of 13 shops are located in Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire. The closures will happen between June 2023 and January 2025, with up to 39 roles affected, as well as 300 volunteer posts.
The Young Lives vs Cancer 2021-22 annual report states the charity’s retail shops made a net loss of £1.4mn in the year to March 2022, although it considers that this net loss arose for two exceptional reasons. Firstly £1mn was put aside in FY21-22 to cover the future cost of repairs and maintenance – a one-off exceptional item and related to a future liability built up over a number of years; secondly, some shops were closed for some of FY 21-22 due to Covid and re-opened after the second lockdown in 2021.
Finances improved last year, with the shops generating a net income of approximately £450,000. However, the charity says, this is a lower return on investment than the charity can achieve through other income generating activity.
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.”
The charity expects the shops to stay open until their individual leases end, which means some shops will remain open for the next 18 months.