Charity shop closes after more than 30 years

CHARITY Young Lives vs Cancer is closing all of its shops, starting with its Downend branch.

The shop in Badminton Road shut for the final time on June 10, ending a presence of more than 30 years in Downend.

Young Lives vs Cancer has two other shops in the area, one in Staple Hill High Street and another at Straits Parade in Fishponds, both of which will close next year, when their leases run out.

The charity says its chain of 13 shops generated a net income of around £450,000 last year, but this was “a lower return on investment than the charity can achieve through other income-generating activity”.

Young Lives vs Cancer was formed from a merger of Bristol charity CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood) and the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children in 2005, and was known as CLIC Sargent until 2021.

CLIC was set up by Frenchay businessman Bob Woodward after he lost his 11-year-old son Robert to neuroblastoma in 1977.

He set up the shops to help fund CLIC’s ‘Home from Home’ service, providing free accommodation for families of young cancer patients in hospital, which was the first of its kind in the UK.

The Fishponds shop opened in 1989 and Staple Hill in 1990, while the Downend shop is believed to have opened in 1992.

The Downend shop employed two members of staff and had 21 volunteers, while the Staple Hill shop, which will close next March, has two employees and 17 volunteers, and the Fishponds shop – due to close in December next year – has three employees and 13 volunteers.

A spokesperson for Young Lives vs Cancer said volunteers from the Downend shop would be invited to help out at one of the other shops nearby, and both the Staple Hill and Fishponds shops will continue to take donations.

Head of retail Sarah Wilsher said: “The decision to close Young Lives vs Cancer’s chain of charity shops wasn’t an easy one.

“Our shops have played a big role in funding our vital services, but as a charity 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 are incredibly grateful for the dedication of our shop staff and volunteers: they are second to none. 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.

“We also want to say a huge thank-you to the local communities who have been so supportive of us over the years.”