A STRUGGLING single mum has revealed how her life was changed after appearing on Rich House Poor House.
Skye Walker, who lives in a council home in Bromley, was deeply moved when wealthy Belinda and Matthew Sethard-Wright offered to help her out.
In Channel 5’s Rich House Poor House Changed My Life, a year after the original show, Skye emotionally showed off treats that she has received since filming.
The well-off Sethard-Wrights felt moved to leave a bike for Skye’s three kids, daughters Ashani, 13, and Riahiema, 7, and two-year-old son Kareem, and some household items that the poor mum wasn’t able to afford.
Skye gushed: “We came home at the girls were like 'look at our new bikes'. I don't normally get anything from anyone, I always work hard for things."
Skye, who also got a memory foam mattress, and kitchen essentials such as utensils, jars and baskets, said: "Everytime I see my little things in the kitchen I think of Belle."
Belinda said: "I just thought these are the little things that Skye probably wants to get that she's got to prioritise."
Matthew said: "We didn't want them to come back and think 'oh we felt sorry for you, here's stuff', because that is far from what we want. It just felt right to do something."
For a week, both families swapped lives, with Skye trading her usual weekly budget of £176.74 for the Sethard-Wrights’ available spend of £1,599.
The Sethard-Wrights and their two children, 12-year-old Olivia and Theo, seven, live just five miles away in a gated mansion with an indoor pool, a tennis court, gym and even a disco room.
The experience was eye-opening for both, with debt-ridden Skye being gob-smacked at the amount of weekly money she got to use, and Belinda moved by Skye’s hardworking life.
Since being on the show a year ago, the families have struck up a heartwarming friendship and even spent Boxing Day together.
Skye gushed: "I've got a new friend, a new family member. My daughter has a new sister, best cousin, whatever you want to call it."
Belinda hugged Skye as she said: "I've made a friend and it's been great to have our children be friends.
"To see someone do so well on their own, she just deserves a medal."
Skye was earning £7 an hour as a cleaner when she filmed the show and now works as a carer for disabled kids, and also has a new business venture she has been inspired to start.
Skye saved up for a printer so she can design and make T-shirts to sell for extra cash on the side.
And since appearing on the show, Belinda said she is keen to invest and help it take off.
Skye beamed as the wealthy mum said: "I'm very very impressed with it and I'd like to invest in making it a business for you and definitely help you financially."
For Skye, who struggles with debt on a daily basis, the lifeswap on the original show was bitter-sweet.
She said at the time: “Their weekly spend is more than my car cost and I’m still paying that off.
“I have another two years to go to pay that off. It really made me think that I’m doing something wrong.”
The rules of the show dictate that the families can use the money to buy whatever they like in the week of the house swap, but it can’t be used to pay debts or household bills.
“Faced with all that money, I just wanted to pay my bills,” said Skye. “If it had been down to me I would have paid off some of the outstanding bills but I wasn’t allowed to do that and that was the hard bit about it.
“But I loved having the nice life with for week. It was like being on holiday with nothing to worry about.”
The selfless mum, who is used to discount stores and charity shops, splashed out on some top quality clothing for the kids.
Skye and her kids were stunned when they pulled up at the home.
She told the Sun Online: “When I first saw the house it was amazing because it’s just around the corner from my house. I really didn’t expect something like that to be so close. It’s crazy. The gates and everything just seemed a different kind of world.
“The kids were so happy. I’ve never seen their smiles so big in my life. They were amazed by it.”
Skye admitted on the original show that she sometimes struggled to put food on the table by the end of the week but says ‘Rich’ mum Belinda made sure they were well fed at the Orpington house.
She said: “My oldest daughter got a jacket and a top, the middle one got a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms and my little man, Kareem, got a new jacket and a named brand tracksuit. They all got name brand clothes from JD Sports and other stores, so they were happy.”
She admitted that her financial situation was getting on top of her but, after seeing how the other half lives, she has now vowed to strive for more.
“I felt kind of sad because I went back to a normal Downham , where my kids can’t be kids and be happy,” she said.
“After seeing what it was like in the other house, where my kids were free, running up and down the garden with the dog and having so much fun, I thought ‘I’ve got to do something better than this. I’ve got to fix it.’
The experience was also eye-opening for Belinda, who found herself on familiar territory – on a council estate where she lived as a child.
She said: “Where Skye lives in Downham, I also lived from the age of two to four in an identical house so it didn’t feel massively different.
“The main difference was that I was conscious I didn’t see as many children out playing as I recall when I was little we were all in and out of each other’s gardens.
She also found the house where she was born and said: “It looked tiny. Funny, 46 years and you come full circle. I never thought I’d end up where I am today.
“When I contacted the show I said ‘I don’t know if we’re the sort of people you want because we haven’t come from a privileged background at all.’
“As it turned out we were just five miles away from Skye but living in different worlds.”
Belinda and Matthew, who works in the City, both come from humble beginnings and met when they were working at Barings.
Now a designer Belinda, 46, says she has never forgotten her humble beginnings.
She told the Sun Online: “I grew up in council houses and I lived in three different council estates, so I’m always batting on to my children about the privilege of their lifestyle.
“I have big issues with things like clothes lying around on the floor because I never had the privilege of feeling so dismissive about things in life and I thought doing the show would be good for them.”
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