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Secret millionaire

May 23rd 2009
An entrepreneur has donated £10,000 to The Connection at St Martin's day centre, London, after going undercover for 10 days for Channel 4's series The Secret Millionaire. In the episode, aired on 2nd September, 26-year-old property tycoon Daniel Smith took on a secret identity and, working as a volunteer, visited several homeless agencies and projects across London. Mr Smith said his participation in the series was an eye-opening experience. "The people I've met are really good people; they've just been dealt a bad hand," he said. "I never knew how nice it was to give something back. Since returning, I have been in contact with the projects I helped. I am looking forward to seeing them develop and staying involved and helping where I can." On his final day, Mr Smith came clean and revealed his true identity before handing over the cheque to the charity, which used it to set up a bursary fund for its clients. Kath Lee, Connection's director of fundraising & PR, told The Pavement it was a surprise for everyone at the Trafalgar Square-based charity. "The production company contacted us to say that they were making a film about social issues and wanted to highlight the work of a homelessness organisation. We assumed they were just using the 'volunteer' angle as a way of following someone round our services. We had no idea at all that he was a millionaire," she said. Ms Lee explained that Mr Smith was not represented as an ongoing volunteer, or claimed to be one, as his enrolment process was different to the standard practice. "Usually potential volunteers go through a full recruitment process, including an interview and CRB [criminal records] check," she said. "As the subject of the film was accompanied by a film crew and a member of staff at all times, we didn't follow this procedure as he was never alone with any of our clients." Small screen interest in UK homelessness issues is not limited to The Secret Millionaire series, as BBC1 is also gearing up for a new programme called Famous Rich and Homeless, in which five recognisable figures will learn about different stages of homelessness over a period of 10 days. Such TV shows are expected to raise the public awareness on issues affecting the life of homeless people, but also contribute to the uncertainty about the real identity of the persons amongst them. Although, a film crew and several TV cameras could perhaps give some clue...

October 2008



Stop giving free food - a response

The law of the streets - two responses

City move-ons - more responses

Westminster's count

Gatekeeping, Part II

Secret millionaire

Streetmate - a website for the homeless

Dome alone

Orwell's hostel up for sale

Killers convicted

Homeless screening...

Hertfordshire hostel's fate decided

Airport man's sentence

The national smoking ban - a year on

Homelessness in Scotland on the increase

Train to gain

Don't take the high road

Not beg and not clever

Best of the Fest

And so to bed...

Street Shield 1: Arrival


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484