University of Bristol: Leading cancer scientist to open new charity superstore in Bristol

A leading cancer scientist whose work helps towards beating cancer in the city, will officially open the first Cancer Research UK superstore in Bristol today [Thursday 15 April].

The charity shop, which includes the Coffee Together café at Brislington Retail Park, will be selling everything from furniture to electrical items, clothing and soft furnishings, gifts and women’s, men’s and children’s wear.

Richard Martin, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol, has been studying lifestyle cancers for many years and the habits and behaviours that lead people to getting the disease.

His team’s mission is to help reduce the number of people who get cancer, working with large-scale population studies and sophisticated genetic profiling to dig deep into what can cause cancer to develop and progress.

On top of this important work, Professor Martin is also leading a large clinical trial to evaluate the use of a test which could be developed into a screening programme for prostate cancer. Currently there is no programme in the UK. More than 48,400 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, with around four in ten cases diagnosed at a late stage.

With over 200 different types of cancer and one-in-two people in the UK expected to be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, scientists know that 40 per cent of these cases are linked to a combination of lifestyle factors which are largely preventable.

Staff and volunteers are looking forward to meeting customers as the superstore will also be a place to relax and unwind once restrictions are eased. There is a coffee shop, aptly named Coffee Together, on the premises selling a range of barista made coffees, teas, hot chocolate, sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as selection of healthy snacks and fruit, cakes and tray bakes.

Josephine Mewett, Head of Retail Operations at Cancer Research UK, explained: “Cancer Research UK funds nearly 50 per cent of the cancer research in the UK. Every day, every pound counts, so I hope people in Bristol will support this new superstore so that we can help keep making new discoveries.

“We are incredibly proud of our community of researchers and to learn of how Professor Martin and his team have worked so hard to understand why some people are affected by cancer and others aren’t.

“We support thousands of scientists and world-leading initiatives in all parts of the UK, all with the aim to improve the lives of people with cancer. COVID-19 has hit us hard and as a result we expect to see our fundraising income decline by up to 30 per cent in the financial year ahead – putting this research at risk.”

She added: “To save lives tomorrow, we need the public’s support today. Our shops across the country typically contribute more than £25 million every year to vital research, Cancer Research UK has suffered a dramatic loss of income since they were forced to close at the end of March, so to have a new superstore open in the South West is worth celebrating.”

Customers are a key part of helping to get the charity’s life-saving work back on track, so strict measures are being followed to ensure people in Bristol can shop, volunteer and donate goods safely.

These include social distancing, hand sanitiser stations, cough guards at till points, face coverings and additional cleaning.

Store manager, Iain Brimecome said: “Money raised at this store and all the other Cancer Research UK shops, will help more people survive cancer and that’s why we need people to support it, by shopping here and donating goods.

“As a Bristol resident I am delighted to be the manager here. I hope people will pop in and discover the huge range of quality items on offer at bargain prices. There’s plenty of free parking right outside, so it is easy to drop off any unwanted items to donate to us.

“We’re very happy to have Professor Martin declare the store open. The store has a number of volunteer roles on offer from serving customers to merchandising the displays.

“People can help get our new shop off to a flying start by shopping with us, donating stock for our shelves or generously offering their time as volunteers.”

With four more retail superstores planned in the UK by April next year, the charity relies on public support to continue its life-saving work.

With around 34,800 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the south west, Cancer Research UK was able to spend over £2 million in the region last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

The Brislington superstore will be open from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm, Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

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