PEOPLE across Devon are being urged to shop to save lives, as Cancer Research UK stores re-open after three months of devastating closures.
The majority of the charity’s shops are getting back to business to tackle a shortfall in funding caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With its shops typically contributing more than £25m every year to vital research, Cancer Research UK has suffered a dramatic loss of income since they were forced to close temporarily at the end of March.
Highlighting the scale of the funding gap, the call to support shopsacross the region coincides with the launch of an urgent new TV appeal to help get the charity’s life-saving work back on track.
Its customers are a key part of this effort, so strict measures are being followed to ensure they can shop, volunteer and donate goods safely.
These include social distancing, hand sanitiser stations, cough guards at till points, face coverings and gloves for shop staff and volunteers, additional cleaning and a 72-hour quarantine period for donated items.
Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the South West, said: “To save lives tomorrow, we need the public’s support today – so we want people to know we’re making every effort to create a safe shopping experience.
“COVID-19 has hit us hard and after three long months we’re delighted to be able to welcome new and familiar faces back through our doors again, as well as a host of new donations.
“Our shops are full of new and pre-loved items, fashion one-offs and homeware treasures – particularly after lockdown clear-outs.As well as being sold at bargain prices, every sale helps to fund our work. But right now, clinical trials are being postponed and we’re having to delay vital research.
“That’s why we’re asking our customers to do what they can. Whether they shop, donate goods or volunteer their time – all are essential to help us keep making breakthroughs for people with cancer.”
For those who need to stay at home, the charity’s online stores are also up and running.
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50% of all cancer research in the UK.
However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, it expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 30 per cent in the financial year ahead – putting this research at risk.
Alison added: “COVID-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop. With around 90 people diagnosed with cancer every hour in the South West*, we are absolutely determined to continue creating better cancer treatments for the future.
“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on every pound raised. So, with the help of shoppers across the South West we believe that together we will still beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK was able to spend over £2 million in the South West last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
For more information on Cancer Research UK shops and opening hours visit cruk.org/shops.