Bag a bargain and support local cancer patients through Charity Shops’ Challenge

Shoppers across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to visit their local Cancer Focus Northern Ireland charity shop on Friday 19 May, as 11 local organisations take part in a high-powered, Apprentice-style volunteering challenge organised by responsible business network Business in the Community NI, in partnership with Cancer Focus NI.

Teams taking part in the Charity Shops’ Challenge will be competing for the coveted Challenge Champion Award, and are required to take over the running of a Cancer Focus NI charity shop for the day, getting creative and competitive to raise the most money and raise the profile of the charity. Other Awards up for grabs include the Best Community Collaboration, Spotlight on Sustainability Award and Best Window Display.

Lauren Cunningham, Community Engagement Manager at Business in the Community, said: “Since 2010, our annual charity shop take-over days have raised more than £590,000 for charities by using the expertise, good will and business acumen of the organisations that are part of our responsible business network. We are delighted to be running this challenge again in partnership with Cancer Focus NI. The teams will need to use their entrepreneurial skills, business know-how and years of collective experience to encourage shoppers to buy, increase donations and generate sales at their particular shop.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response from businesses and organisations who really see the value in this employer supported volunteering challenge. It offers multiple benefits – enabling employees to take on and project manage the challenge, use their skills and wits to fundraise, get creative in managing and promoting ‘their’ shop, and raising awareness of Cancer Focus NI’s invaluable services throughout Northern Ireland. I’d encourage everyone to get down to their local Cancer Focus NI shop on 19 May to show their support and pick up a bargain.”

Organisations signed up to take part are Allstate NI, CME Group, Hughes Insurance, Interface, JP Corry, KPMG, Phoenix Natural Gas, PML Group, PPSNI and TPI Cap.

Rosie Forsythe, Corporate Fundraising Manager, Cancer Focus NI, said: “The Charity Shops’ Challenge provides a unique opportunity for Cancer Focus NI to raise awareness of the valuable work we do locally and raise much-needed cash.”

Every year we support over 6,000 local people affected by cancer and, with 1 in 2 of us predicted to be affected by cancer in our lifetime. That’s why we are so grateful to the businesses that have signed up and are taking part in this challenge. There donation will help us to continue providing our services to all those who require our support now and in the future.

We are continuing to work to reduce the impact of cancer on local people’s lives; educating the community with our range of cancer prevention programmes so that they will lessen their risk of getting cancer, funding local scientific research into the causes and treatment of cancer and campaigning for a better health policy to protect our community and its future.

She added: “The Challenge is a serious business test, with a little friendly competition between the organisations involved. We will announce the winners at a special celebration lunch in June which is a great opportunity for us to recognise the efforts and activities of each of the teams and say thank you to all involved.

“Whether you’re part of a team participating in the challenge, supporting work colleagues who are taking part, live close to one of the shops or are simply on the look-out for a bargain, you can be part of this year’s Charity Shops’ Challenge and help to raise vital funds to support our vital life-line counselling care services, cancer prevention work and research.”

The Cancer Focus NI shops involved in this year’s challenge are: Ballyhackamore, Banbridge, Bangor, Coleraine, Derry~Londonderry, Holywood, Limavady, Lisburn Road, Newtownards and Ormeau Road.