Cancer Research UK gets set to open superstore at former Argos unit at Westwood Gateway retail park

Cancer Research UK will open its superstore at Westwood (Image astley)

A new Cancer Research UK superstore will soon open at the former Argos unit at Westwood.

The charity has submitted an application for new signs to go on the unit at Westwood Gateway retail park.

Work has been taking place with Thanet job centres to recruit for 20 staff to man the new store which is due to open in mid to late March.

Argos closed at the site to move into Sainsbury’s at Westwood after a review of the chain store’s business in 2019.

(Image astley)

The Cancer Research UK superstore will stock clothing, accessories, books, DVDs and CDs, homewares, furniture and small electricals all under one roof.

Most items will be £5 or less (apart from furniture, electricals and new goods) and each Cancer Research superstore is up to four times bigger than its high street shops.

All of Cancer Research Superstore have their own community space and people can ask in store how they can use these.

Job roles are still being advertised with a March 6 deadline. Find details at


  1. All these national “charities” are really businesses in disguise. £60k for the store manager and wages for staff. I opened my eyes to this years ago when I saw a job advert on a charity shop window. Everyone assumes all the staff are volunteers. Some may be from time to time, who are bossed around by those on a salary. The charity in turn can afford this vast warehouse space, signage, fixtures and fittings. They only get the business rates reduced, not the rent or utilities. Then of course we have the area managers, district managers and other head office management staff. Only a fraction of whatever you buy in a national charity shop actually goes to the intended recipients who are meant to benefit from the charity.

    • Some managers are on six figures. You know it is no longer a charity shop when people take stuff in & they turn their nose up at it & snobbily say we don’t take things like that nowadays.

      Most of the charities now use chuggers & high pressure call centres-who phone on a near daily basis trying to guilt trip former donators & bombard your letterbox. Turns most people off from giving at all, as it is all about personal revenue for those running the companies.

    • No charity shop chain will pay anything near to £60000 pa for a store manager. Yes the manager is paid, won’t be much more than minimum wage. A couple of other workers may be on a part time contract on or just above minimum wage level. Furniture shops may have one or two warehouse staff on a wage. The majority of people staffing the shops will be volunteers or on placement from DWP or ex offenders. The big chiefs CEO etc. may well be on very decent salaries, but not those at the coalface.

    • RSPCA Thanet are not funded nationally as many of the public think but they totally rely on donations to their charity shops in Thanet .
      I know this because I used to volunteer at the RSPCA Thanet Animal centre and saw first hand the difference that the generous public make to the animals that come into their care .

    • It really is another nail in the coffin for the town centre when even the charity shops are moving out and re-locating at Westwood Cross !

  2. I don’t think any charity wants what they are supporting to be resolved, there is too much money being pumped in to them they don’t want the gravy train to stop. I phoned one charity to ask about their “ free will service “ “ yes the will can write the will for you on the understanding you want to donate a modest sum in your will” I ask what is a “ modest sum” oh around £5000 / £10,000. No thanks.

    • Tend to agree with you Bill. My late mum had diabetes and whenever a new breakthrough in helping with the disease was being developed, Diabetes UK were never enthusiastic, always downbeat and negative. The cynic in me does believe that all these medical relates charities have vested interests and don’t really want a cure – otherwise they’ll find themselves on the dole!!

        • Sorry but that’s an ignorant and cynical comment about RNLI , you’ve only got to watch the excellent tv series “ Saving lives at sea “ to see the wonderful and varied work that they do in saving lives of people who get into all sorts of unexpected difficulties .

  3. Years back I was working for a guy who was the sales manager for door Mobil. He went to Dr banardos head office to negotiate a deal for a fleet of mini buses. He left giving no discounts shocked at the place was run staff doing nothing just lounging around.

  4. If a am right,these charity shops do not pay business rates ,as they are a charity,can someone clarify this please,most high streets have these shops ,taking business away from shops who pay all their dues,surely not fair on small businesses

  5. They usually have to pay 20% I think it is Ray. The council doesn’t miss out on the 80% because the Government coughs up the shortfall. This is the only perk they get, can’t see landlord’s offering them freebies when they could just let it to a commercial business! When I worked in advertising for a local magazine, I had charities always expecting freebies or heavily discounted rates – I reminded them that I was not a charity and so I still had to pay rent, rates, bills, staff, my wages and the printers who printed my magazine and distributors – none of which would give me discounts or freebies!!

    What you say is the same with grant-funded arts organisations who compete with commercial art galleries, and those grant-funded arty places which have coffee shops attached which takes money away from similar businesses too.

    • Agree if they are run as a business they should pay the going rate,there is a big difference between bhf,cancer research rtf and local small charities ,

    • The landlord will have negotiated the best deal they can, but the site is obviously unpopular and had trouble attracting a “commercial” tenant , the landlord would have been liable for the rates whilst empty and so is keen to get it let. It’s why our highstreets are so dominated by charity shops.

  6. Total UK Charities 412,396. Far too many in my opinion lining the pockets of those at the top who run them by pulling at the heart strings of the kindness of public.

  7. I am absolutely astounded at how much negativity there is towards charities in these comments. Instead of feeling bitter that they provide employment why not investigate what each charity actually achieves in real terms? Do you have any idea of the advances in your (current or future) cancer treatments purely because of decades of fundraising by Cancer Research UK? Have you any idea how the Charity Commission works? They would come down like a tonne of bricks on a business masquerading as a charity. They have statutory powers to work with Companies House and the courts to bring down any charity which is not delivering in its stated claims. Just look at The Kids Company that was forced to close with Camila Batmanghelidjh at the helm. I’ve worked on the boards of charities and they are rigourously run to avoid any wrongdoing – there’s no room for manoeuvre within the way they have to be set up. Any charity which has business interests is also registered with Companies House so you can check out their annual returns and what percentage of turnover is spent on wages. Any charity which doesn’t comply is weeded out very quickly. Charity Shops do a brilliant job and I’m proud that most of my purchases for clothing and my home are from Pilgrims Hospice BHF or Cancer Research. Do your research before spouting off and pop in to one once in a while and you might be surprised what you find.

    • Liz no one here is doubting what these charities do ,some do great work ,what people are saying ,the top person at Cancer Research UK ,has an income of in excess of £250000 a year ,other big charities pay more,some into £1m a year,where is their charity do they have to such obscene money ,never forgetting their expenses are most likely equal to their pay packet,Charity is BIG BUSINEES,Google their wages and find out yourself

    • My exneighbour was the executor of an estate that was left to the PDSA, they were ruthless in respect to the estate, they didn’t want anything other than money and expected everylast item to have been put up for sale and proceeds passed to them. Caused my neighbour untold stress , plus they were very unhappy when he put in his expenses for doing all the work.
      He’s an ex pension fund manager and looked into the PDSA’s accounts, they effectively operated from the annual donations , had over 50 million in the bank the interest from which was used in just about its entirety to fund the disbursements of those at the top of the charity.
      St.Johns ambulance sold off its old station in westgate in a very underhand manner.
      Kids Co. Was only notionally successful because it gave free stuff to kids, should have fallen earlier than it did but had embarrassingly be given lots of dosh just before an election by the gov of the day.
      Huge numbers of charities have become political, rely on government funding, employ appalling tactics to raise funds and will give huge % to the exploitative companies they engage to raise said money. Many years ago the blind dog association headquarters had a subsidised bar, not sure that those donating at the time would have thought it an appropriate use of their money.
      The charity sector has got totally out of control.

  8. Liz. All charities are in effect another form of taxation the government love charities because it saves the government form taking responsibility of the homeless / poor / hungry / cancer research / childcare / children in need and many many more needs that the government can look away from. Last week in Canterbury M&S store there were men canvassing for “Help the Hero’s “ as shoppers walked into the store one of the men asked “are you glad some of our heroes are sleeping on the streets ” they wanted shoppers to sign up for direct debit at £5 per month.
    If one did sign up those chuckers are paid the £5 per month for the first year with the charity not receiving a penny of it until the second year.

  9. No one is defending the tactics of the charity hustlers but ultimately charities allow them to do it in their name as it does bring in revenue. I don’t donate that way as I’m aware not all the money goes direct to the charity. It’s also good for the soul to give and I’d rather do that through a charity where I can choose what cause my money goes to as opposed to the higher taxation that would be needed to fund all those other gaps in our provision in society.

  10. Charity or not, organisations have to pay an attractive salary for the top, responsible jobs, as well as all other staff. I was once rebuked for offering to take a lower salary when applying to work for a charity. At least the point of these “big businesses” is to support society which is more than can be said for the majority of big businesses, particularly in the financial sector where the only aim is to line the pockets of the wealthy and keep the plebs in their place.

    • The small aside of course being that these businesses gainfully employ lots of people and pay taxes to support state spending.

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