All the latest volunteering news

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Happy New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed some time with loved ones this festive period. I certainly enjoyed some countryside walks and a nice mince pie or two! As I look ahead to 2023, we remain united and refreshed in our mission.

I’m pleased to say that we’re starting the year in a stable financial position thanks in part to such a strong 2022 for our shops. Between April and November 2022, our shops recorded a 13.1% rise in sales compared to the same period last year. During this period we also saw our highest quarterly sales figures on record. However we continue to operate in a challenging external environment and we’re having to respond to challenges of inflation and rising energy prices as well as the economic downturn. The disposable income of many households across the UK is being squeezed which could impact our donations and fundraising.

We aim to be a first choice rather than a necessity for our customers, but we proudly cater for all budgets. During this difficult time, we’re incredibly grateful to all of you, and to everyone who supports our life-saving work.

You can read more below about what we’re doing to support you – while you support us.

You’ll also find out more about the work we’re doing to make sure that everyone can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer – regardless of their background.

When we asked you to take a survey recently, 85% of you told us that you would recommend Cancer Research UK as a good place to volunteer to friends and family. Hearing this fills me with hope that, whatever happens, we can face this coming year together.

Julie Byard, Director of Trading
Cancer Research UK

Celebrating Diversity in our Volunteering Community

Bev and Jessica behind the till in a Cancer Research UK Shop

We’re hugely proud of our brilliant volunteers, and we’re delighted to be an Investing in Volunteers accredited organisation, the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management. At our latest count, we believe we have almost 30,000 registered volunteers across Cancer Research UK with the highest number in our shops.

People are one of our greatest assets and having a diverse community of people supporting us and an inclusive culture will allow us to do more and better. The equality, diversity and inclusion work we’re doing as an organisation is as relevant for our volunteers as it is for our staff.

Bev and Jessica’s story is a special example of this in action. Jessica has Smith-Magenis Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. From the very start, Bev and Jessica have worked together to create a positive volunteering experience in the shop. We asked Bev to tell us about the friendship they’ve developed.

Read Bev and Jessica's Story

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Cancer Research UK

Volunteers talking

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, and as an organisation, we’ve committed to making sure that our work benefits everyone, regardless of age, gender, background or race. Our volunteering principles are guided by the Equality Act of 2010, which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

In 2020, Cancer Research UK made a long-term commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and as a volunteer with us, it’s important you understand and share these EDI values and embody these values during your time here.

We know a few of you had questions about why we’re doing this work, so we’ve produced a short video about Diversity and Inclusion. Please make time to watch it.

Watch here 

Cost of living

Volunteers dressing a manequin

We understand that the current cost of living challenges are a concern for many people across the country. Whilst we alone can't solve this, we want to offer support where possible.

There are ways that you can access discounts as a volunteer that may be able to help you. For example, the Charity Shop Worker Discounts scheme to get discounts across many brands and products. To sign up, visit

We also offer you a discretionary 25% discount on donated items that are on sale at the Cancer Research UK store that you are registered to volunteer in - please talk to your shop manager about this. In addition, we're encouraging shops to have sanitary products and cups of soup available to keep everyone warm in the cold weather. From February, fleeces will also be available to you.

We value our volunteers and the time that you give to us. If you're finding the cost of living tricky, and it's affecting your ability to volunteer with us, please speak to your shop manager and they can share information on services that may be able to help you.

What's coming up ...

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Survey results coming soon!

EDI icon

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Survey last year.

We’ll be sharing what we’ve learnt from the survey in a future newsletter.




Flame of Hope Awards

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Following a record-breaking year for nominations, winners of our annual Flame of Hope Awards - which recognise some of our most outstanding volunteers - have been selected and should now have received their official acknowledgements in the post. Huge congratulations to all winners, special commendations and nominees!

With so many incredible volunteers supporting our vital research, judging was certainly no mean feat! At last count, we had over 13,000 amazing volunteers supporting our shops and in a typical year, you collectively give around 3.1 million hours of your time, help sell 22 million pre-loved items and support our shops to give £25 million to beat cancer.

We’re so incredibly grateful to each and every volunteer in our shops for your commitment, achievements and the invaluable difference you make every day, and look forward to seeing some of you at our Flame of Hope award ceremonies in March.

We're here to support you