Rich House Poor House mum who lived on £54 a week is now entrepreneur

Struggling mum-of-three who survived on just £54-a-week and had £20,000 of debt reveals she transformed her life and is now running her own business after appearing on Rich House Poor House

  • Cafe worker Jamie Fox and lorry driver Lee appeared on Rich House Poor House last year swapping lives with millionaires  Jessen and Lorna James from Kent
  • The Foxes survived on just £54 a week while James’ budget  was £1,900
  • At end of the week they Jessen offered to mentor Jamie and pay for her training
  • One year on, Jamie is now running her own successful cleaning business 

A struggling mother-of-three who was surviving on £54.20 week after rent and bills and was crippled by £20,000 of debt has turned her life around and is now thriving running her own cleaning business after appearing on Rich House, Poor House.

Cafe worker Jamie Fox, from Bradford, her lorry driver husband Lee and their three children, Taylor, seven, Ashton, four, and three-year-old Molly-George swapped lives and budgets with Kent-based millionaires Jessen and Lorna James, and two of their four children, Isla, seven, and Amber, four, for the Channel 5 documentary last year.

Now, in a follow-up show which airs Sunday on Channel 5, Jamie reveals how with Jessen’s help and training she’s now running a successful business, while the millionaire says he has also learned to take more time out and be present with his family.

Struggling mother-of-three Jamie Fox who was surviving on £54.20 week after rent and bills and was crippled by £20,000 of debt has turned her life around and is now thriving running her own cleaning business after appearing on Rich House, Poor House. She is pictured now talking business

During the swap, the Fox family enjoyed their new budget of £1,900 a week, while living in a sprawling Kent home, a stark difference from their small house they rent from community housing association in West Yorkshire, which is furnished with anything Jamie found for free.

Meanwhile, Jessen and Lorna learned to live on a new budget and spent more time together as a family, with Jessen – who trained as a psychiatric nurse before setting up his own care business, making his first million aged 33 – saying he’s going to eat with the family and relax his strict regime.

At the end of the week Jessen, who has two sons from a previous relationship,  paid £4,000 for Lee to upgrade his driving license in order to make more money as a lorry driver.

And just four weeks after the swap, the businessman also paid for Jamie to attend one of his marketing training courses in London and helped her with start-up funds for the new business, which is now thriving. 

Cafe worker Jamie Fox, from Bradford, her lorry driver husband Lee and their three children, Taylor, seven, Ashton, four, and three-year-old Molly-George (pictured) swapped lives and budgets with Kent-based millionaires Jessen and Lorna James, and two of their four children, Isla, seven, and Amber, four, for the Channel 5 documentary last year.

Jamie explained that after paying Jessen’s cleaners during the swap, she realised they make much better money that her, which sparked an idea to start her own business.

After the swap, Jessen told her he would help her set up her own business and mentor her.

‘Jessen’s helped me a lot in services has been quite harsh’ Jamie said. 

‘I’ve had to do business plans, cashflows, spreadsheets. 

‘I’ve not got a clue what I’m doing, he sent them all back for months.

‘So in that sense it’s been great having someone with knowledge on board,’ she added.

Also touched by the exchange, Jessen launched his own Facebook group to help others.

Jessen is pictured with Jamie at his business school. He paid for her to attend after appearing on Rich House Poor Hous

And while Jamie’s debt is not completely paid off, with the help of Jessen she now has a plan in place and now longer feels like she’s drowning.    

‘One of the first things I said to Jamie, if we’re going to make your business work if we’re going to give you a chance at getting ahead in life, we’ve got to address some of the things that are holding you back and one of those things is the debt,’ he said.

‘So what we did was we sat down, I gave us some advice on how she can get, you know, some of that potentially written off how she can contact these companies just speak to them, because at the end of the day, they’re only interested in one thing and that is getting paid. 

‘So, even if they get paid a few pounds a week, that’s what they want they want progress not perfection,’ he added.  

Jessen and Jamie are pictured in a business meeting, as Jessen mentors Jamie and helps her with her cleaning business 

Wanting to share the knowledge of his success, Jessen and Lorna run a business school.

Speaking on the original episode, he said: ‘We live a pretty cool life, we do nice things, and we’ve got time.

‘We might go down to London and spend six, seven, £8,000 on just a shopping spree.’  

‘I believe up north, potentially people need to be a bit more resourceful.’

Jessen is pictured with his wife Lorna and two stepdaughters as they took part in the swap last year

Prior to the swap, Jamie worked in a Morrisons Cafe, while Lee had long hours on the road as lorry driver, with the couple buried in £20,000 of debt.  

‘Our financial situation is absolutely dire,’ Jamie said at the time. 

During the swap, they lived the high life, splashing £55 on pizza takeaway on their first night  – more than their typical weekly budget, while Jamie also spent twice their weekly budget on a food shop picking up expensive luxuries like a goose egg.   

She also took her kids for a private swimming lesson, saying she wished she could do it normally, as well as buying clothes for her kids. 

Lee also treated his wife a £95 necklace and the pair had a romantic dinner date. 

Clearly used to the high life, Jamie says she doesn’t want to go back to her life struggles, where they refer to their ”drawer of doom’ filled with all their debt letters and final demands.

‘I’ve come from this huge, beautiful place back to my scruffy house,’ she said at the time. 

Thanks to the help from Jessen and Lorna, she’s now on her way to living the life of luxury.

‘If someone asks me “what do you do job wise”, I can say “I’ve got my own cleaning company.” It’s right good to be able to say that, it’s a nice feeling, onwards and upwards,’ she adds. 

Rich House, Poor House Changed My Life, Sundays at 9pm on Channel 5 

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