Business owner on £1,240 of disposable income helps struggling carerJune 12, 2023
Carer living on £80 a week is left in tears as business owner with £1,720 disposable income to spend offers to change her life within a year
- Carer from Penarth Lesley gets a proposition from business woman Nicky Bright
- READ MORE: Young parents in £8,000 of debt break down in tears
A struggling carer was reduced to tears after a business woman offered to help her achieve her dream of owning a tea room.
Lesley, who lives in a £800-a-month barn in Penarth, saw her life turned upside down after her husband Dave fell in the shower and suffered life-changing brain injuries in 2011.
She had to give up her tea room business and was getting by on carers allowance, as well as looking after rescue ponies, with around £83 a week for essentials when she appeared on Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House.
In the show, which aired last night, she swapped lives and budgets with successful businesswoman Nicky Bright, who had to save her family from eviction six years ago, but now owns holiday cottages and an interior design business, enjoying £1,720 of disposable income a week.
Viewers watched as both women learned about each other’s struggle, before Nicky surprised Lesley by revealing she wanted to partner up on a tearoom business and help the carer launch her own business.
Cardiff businesswoman Nicky Bright, pictured with her daughter Morgan, right, offered to financially back a carer’s dream of owning a tearoom after they swapped lives on Rich House, Poor House
‘I could see you’re very talented in everything that you wanted to do in your business, going forward and what you loved,’ Nicky said as she approached Lesley with her life-changing proposition.
‘I’m gonna pay for you to be a professional interior designer. You’re gonna have a diploma,’ she added.
‘I’ll show you the business network and groups I’m in. I’ll put you in the business networking groups, and I’ll pay for those for you as well,’ she added.
Lesley was left ‘speechless’ by Nicky’s offer.
‘At the start of this week, I was at the bottom,’ she said, before bursting into tears.
But Nicky was not done dispensing good news.
‘I’d love to partner up with you for a business to do with a tea room,’ she said.
‘I’ve got loads of ideas. It would be your business. I’ll put money into it as well. And we’ll find the right property. I found one yesterday which is amazing, it’s got apartment upstairs
Carer Lesley, who lives in a £800-a-month barn in Penarth, saw her life get turned upside down after her husband Dave fell in the shower and suffered life changing brain injuries in 2011
‘You would be bringing in close to about £650,000 in your first year.
‘I just know we can work together, we can make this work and with the right people around us, we can make it fly.’
Lesley was shocked by the proposition, saying: ‘I’m shaking here, I’m really overwhelmed about what Nicky has just offered me and she doesn’t even know me,’ Lesley said. ‘My life s going to change.’
Nicky, who owns a house in central Cardiff as well as other holiday properties in Wales, had a difficult road to success.
She revealed she was at risk of losing everything after her divorce from her husband of 25 years six years ago.
Nicky had to save her family from eviction six years ago, but now owns holiday cottages and an interior design business, enjoying £1,720 of disposable income a week
‘There was a knock on the door, and it was the bailiffs. They were taking the home,’ she recalled, tears in her eyes.
‘We lost everything, and when you’re losing everything, you lose yourself as well.’
In order to avoid losing her home, Nicky began renting rooms out, which later expanded into a full blown business.
She eventually grew the business by buying a holiday cottage called the Stables, which she furnished herself, sparing no expense.
‘Everything I put in there, didn’t even put a budget on it, I just blew the budget,’ she said.
This included a £4,500 luxury copper bath and matching hand basin for one of the bathrooms.
Nicky was able to rebuild herself from the ground up, saying: ‘Through a brokenness, you can discover who you are and anyone can do it.
‘I can move mountains, I know I can.’
The mother-of-two, who still had her daughter Morgan, 23, at home, said she hoped to help others with her time on the show.
‘I hope to achieve from this that I’m gonna help someone, somebody who may have been in my position or not quite sure how to get to where they want to be,’ she said.
But Nicky admitted she might struggle to live on a budget, with her daughter joking the mother-of-two was a ‘brand snob.’
‘I am a student so I’ve learnt a lot of the ways to live better on a budget,’ Morgan said.
‘This woman, on the other hand, will go and buy the finest eggs because she thinks they taste different when they taste exactly the same.’
Nicky and Morgan swapped lives and budget with Lesley, in Penarth, whose life was completely different from theirs.
‘My financial situation is pretty rubbish. It’s a real struggle,’ Lesley said.
Lesley, who receives carers allowance to look after her ex-husband Dave, revealed that she was left with £80 a week for essentials.
‘I manage because you have to manage, like the rest of Britain,’ she said.
She forked out £800 a month on a charming barn, but that meant her budget was stretched to the limit.
She also spent an estimated £400 a month on caring for rescue ponies.
Lesley and Dave’s situation used to be more comfortable, but it all came to a halt in 2011 when Dave fell in the shower and hurt in head, suffering life-altering brain injuries.
Lesley had to give her business up in order to become Dave’s carer, however, their marriage suffered, and the pair ended up splitting up.
‘She’s had to take on carer’s allowance as an income, looking after a child at home. It’s crushing,’ Dave said on the show.
Viewers watched as both women learned about each other’s struggle, before Nicky surprised Lesley by revealing she wanted to partner up on a tearoom business and help the carer launch her own business
‘She was the one who had to feel all the emotion, that all these things that we used to be able to do, we can no longer do,’ he added.
In spite of their divorce, Lesley kept on looking after Dave, and received a carers allowance at the time of the show.
However, her financial situation was put in jeopardy by the fact her landlord planned a 20 per cent rent increase which would bring her monthly rent up to £950, which she couldn’t afford.
‘I’m at a crossroads in my life where I need something for me,’ Lesley said.
The swap got underway, and immediately, Nicky was shocked by how little her and Morgan’s budget of £83 for the whole week was.
She angered Morgan further by splashing £13 on breakfast items, leaving them with just £70 to cope.
Meanwhile, Lesley was left ‘speechless’ by her and Dave’s weekly budget of £1,720.
‘That’s an obscene amount of money for the week, unless you’re a family of 200,’ Dave joked.
‘I’m nauseous at the fact that all this money was just for one week,’ Lesley admitted.
Lesley and Dave learned more about Nicky’s past from her son Lewis, who admitted her mother sold everything she had in order to save her home.
Nicky and Les have got so much in common,’ Dave said.
‘When I lost my business, we got social housing, we had no backing, we had no savings,’ Lesley admitted.
Lewis said he is ‘immensely proud’ of what his mother has achieved.
‘I’m curious to know where Nicky got her courage from and her strength,’ Lesley said.
Meanwhile, Lesley’s friend Barry explained everything she does for Dave.
He said that while ‘officially’ she only had to look after Dave eight hours a week, Lesley would be doing it 24/7.
‘She will also feel she has a duty to care for David, even though they couldn’t live together anymore,’ he added. ‘She always puts other people first.’
One of Lesley’s first tasks was to treat herself to a new wardrobe at a fancy shop near Nicky’s holiday cottage.
She tried several outfits on, spending £309 and admitted that it felt ‘liberating’ not having to worry about counting her money as she spent it.
Dave gave more insight into his ex-partner’s personality, telling the camera: ‘She’s got a tough exterior, she comes across as tough, but where do you put all those feelings,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Morgan had to take control of hers and Nicky’s finances in order to remain within their budget, spending £22.09 on a Tesco weekly shop.
As she did so, she noted that while the priority was to put food on the table, the tight budget left very little for activities.
The mother-daughter duo also visited a centre supporting people like Dave who are living with brain injuries, which proved to be an emotional experience.
Morgan was reduced to tears as she told Nicky she felt lucky their family were in good health.
Nicky said she wanted her daughter to learn that you ‘have to give back,’ with Morgan asking her mother if they could come back to the centre on weekends.
After learning of Lesley’s former tea room, Nicky began to explore ways in which she could help the carer get back on track.
Lesley, who has a knack for interior design, was tasked with redecorating one of Nicky’s holiday cottages.
‘She can come up with the idea, I just think she needs that help and support to take it to the next level,’ the mother-of-two said.
Nicky and Morgan came to the conclusion that in order to be a successful business owner, Lesley couldn’t continue caring for Dave as well as rescue animals, and said that Lesley needed to make tough choices.
‘Having a business and being a carer and having animals you can’t be in all these places at once,’ Nicky said.
They also stressed that Lesley needed to act fast in order to make her tea room dream a reality.
‘She needs to go for that dream right now. She tries to do this in two years – it’s too late, she could lose the lot,’ the businesswoman added.
Dave said he wanted his ex-wife to get a lucky break and thrive, and eventually told her that she should stop being his carer in order to resume her business activity.
‘I feel like I’ve held her back,’ he told the camera.
‘I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done, this is my way of thanking you,’ he told Lesley.
Nicky also revealed she had found a restaurant café up for a lease not too far from Lesley with 30 to 60 covers, a gardens and apartments, saying that if Lesley took the opportunity, in a year ‘she could live a totally different life.’
Morgan and Nicky enjoyed a picnic on their last day of the swap, with Morgan admitted living in Nicky’s shoes had given her some perspective on how hard Nicky had worked to keep her family afloat.
The families eventually met at the end of the week, which led them to reflect on the experience.
‘Money does bring you happiness. I recognise that in me. And I’m never gonna go back to how I was before,’ Lesley said.
Meanwhile Nicky said she recognises the importance of not being ‘greedy.’
‘Use your money in a way that empowers you but helps others,’ she added.
Rich House, Poor House airs on Sundays at 9pm on Channel 5.
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