'Community hub' closing doors after 1000% increase in electric bill

Sarah Marie Underhay, founding director of Duck in Boots and the shop.

Duck in Boots is having to close its doors next month. - Credit: Sarah Marie Underhay / Charlotte Bond

A community hub and craft gift shop in Sudbury is having to close its doors next month following a dramatic increase in bills.

Duck in Boots, in Gaol Lane, opened in 2017 and will be shutting its doors in July after its bills soared, with electric going from £75 a month to £826 - an increase of 1001%.

The not-for-profit community hub offers craft sessions and creative spaces as well as operating a hand-craft gift shop. 

Katie Oliver an artist who volunteers at Duck in Boots in Sudburyand has her work for sale in the sh

Katie Oliver an artist who volunteers at Duck in Boots in Sudbury and has her work for sale in the shop. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Founding director, Sarah Marie Underhay, said that the decision to close is "hugely disappointing".

She added: “There’s no cap for business electric so there’s another rise in October so there’s just no way.  

“We hoped we might be able to survive it if footfall was adequate, but we are finding footfall very low, particularly down the street that we’re on. 

“It’s just so difficult, some days we’ve taken £3.50, and obviously it’s just not sustainable. The cost of switching the lights on is more than that. 

Sarah Marie Underhay, founding director of Duck in Boots.

Sarah Marie Underhay, founding director of Duck in Boots. - Credit: Sarah Marie Underhay

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“It’s hugely disappointing, I’ve invested so much of my time, my life, into this, and financed it on my credit cards to try and keep it going. 

“I can’t do that anymore, our own cost of living has gone up, I need to work. 

“Unfortunately, the rest of the directors don’t feel they can take over the responsibility that I’ve had and with the footfall decline we just feel it’s the time to go."

Sarah said that the option of moving location to improve footfall has been explored but is not viable for them, but they have had interest in the shop.

Duck in Boots in Sudbury is sadly closing PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

The shop sells a variety of hand-crafted gifts, but has struggled with the soaring cost of bills. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“It’s not affordable, shops on the main market hill will cost you in the region of £5,000 just for rent and rates and that’s without the electric bill.

“We have got parties interested in the potential of taking it over, so perhaps it will continue with somebody else. 

“But I would imagine with the economic situation as it is, it’s doubtful. 

“It’s obviously disappointing particularly because it’s a real close-knit community we’ve built here, customers and volunteers know each other really well.  

“It’s a really disappointing thing to have to face losing but I think unfortunately we’ve run our course in Sudbury."

The store is having a closing down sale, running until it close its doors, on July 23.

Duck in Boots in Sudbury is sadly closing PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

The community hub also offers community workshops for children. - Credit: Charlotte Bond