Barrie Drewitt-Barlow invests £250k in single mother's food business
UK’s first gay father to have a baby via surrogate invests £250,000 in single mother’s baby food business after experiencing her £59-a-week ‘nightmare’ on Rich House, Poor House
- Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner Scott spend £5k-a-week on their lifestyle
- READ MORE: One of UK’s first gay dads claims he spent £4million on Christmas presents
One of Britain’s first gay fathers reduced a single mother to tears after he invested £250,000 into her baby food business.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow rose to fame in 1990 when he and his former partner Tony welcomed their twins Aspen and Saffron – making them the UK’s first gay couple to become parents via surrogates.
Tony and Barrie had as combined net-worth of £40million before their 2019 divorce, from their ventures including a trans-Atlantic surrogacy business and a global medical research company. Four years on, Barrie is now worth £12million himself.
Barrie, who is now in a relationship with his daughter’s ex-boyfriend Scott Hutchinson, lives in a mega mansion in Florida and spends £5,000-a-week on their lavish lifesyle.
However, he travelled back to his luxury property in Chelmsford, Essex to film Rich House, Poor House, which airs at 9pm tonight on Channel 5.
The UK’s first ever gay father reduced a single mother to tears after he revealed he would be give her £250,000 in backing to create her food business on Rich House, Poor House
After spending five days in the shoes of skint single mother Ocean, who lives on £59 a week in a two-bedroom flat with her daughter Oziana, Scott and Barrie decided to give her a quarter of a million pounds to fund a budding baby food business.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the father-of-eight admitted that even though he was raised in a council estate himself, he didn’t remember being ‘that poor,’ and added that people on the breadline have it ‘tougher’ than he did in the 1980s.
Describing how the show was a ‘wake up call’, Barrie said: ‘I thought I understood what it was like.’
Despite food banks popping up across the country, Barrie said: ‘It’s so much worse than the olden days.’
Barrie, who owns seven properties across the globe, said that him and his partner are ‘so much less blasé’ about wealth since their time on the show.
As he and Scott spend around £5,000-a-week on food shops and eating out, Barrie said he found living on Ocean’s strict budget a ‘nightmare’.
He also added that he was struck to see the mother was using an electric meter, and admitted he had never used one.
Barrie added: ‘I didn’t know what “topping up” meant!’
Single mother Ocean, left, who lives on £59 a week in a two-bedroom flat in Essex with her daughter Oziana, centre. She appeared on the show with her friend Chloe, right
Barrie, who owns seven properties across the globe said that him and his partner are ‘so much less blasé’ about wealth since their time on the show
Scott, who also grew up on a council estate, agreed that the show ‘took him back to his roots.’
The property developer, who refurbished Ocean’s bedroom on the show, said that he and Barrie are not used to ‘looking at price tag’ in daily life.
He added he ‘felt sorry’ for the people who have to live on extremely limited budget like Ocean.
Barrie explained that in the four weeks since the show was filmed, Ocean and Chloe have come to visit him in Florida, and that work has started on her baby food business.
What’s more, Barrie and Scott are also paying for Ocean’s driving lessons too.
He also revealed that Ocean is planning to open an eatery in Essex with the money he has invested in her.
Barrie surprised Ocean with his decision at the end of the episode, referencing a conversation he had had with her friend Leah, who revealed the single mum was cooking and freezing baby food for her to use.
‘When I spoke to your friend Leah, she mentioned about the baby food and how you helped her with her children, making you and she’s freeze it and always make more batches for her,’ he started.
‘And to me, it definitely struck a chord because there is definitely a market for baby food.
Ocean, Oziana and Chloe in front of Barrie and Scott’s palatial mansion in Chelmsford, Essex ,where they spent the week
‘I’m thinking that maybe there is an opportunity for us both. I would like to bring you out to Florida and work out with you how we can set up some kind of brand,’ he said.
When he revealed how much he was thinking of investing, Ocean couldn’t help but break down in tears.
‘I will back you with an initial of £250,000,’ he said as the single mother wiped tears of joys off her face. ‘From that, you need to find some premises and some professional kitchen. ‘
‘We can help you with all that kind of stuff,’ he said, adding his team would also set up a website for her. ‘I’ll go with you to some of the supermarket and we’ll figure out how to get your products on their shelves.’
‘For you right now, this is the life changer,’ Scott said. ‘This is when you forget everything and you put everything into it because now you have the full backing behind you for you to do what you want.
Fighting back tears, Ocean told the couple: ‘I wasn’t thinking that this experience was going to change my life in the long run.
Scott admitted that Barrie and him are not used to looking at price tags, and that he felt ‘sorry’ for people on the breadline
‘Usually when you are about to give up is when you are about to succeed,’ Scott said. ‘You just need to keep pushing for everything.’
Ocean struggled to find her words as she spoke to the camera following Barrie’s offer.
‘I’m so shocked how they want to invest their time and money into me,’ he added.
Barrie had as futuristic ‘holiday home’ built in Essex, where Scott and him stay when they visit the UK, which is fully equipped with a chauffeur, a private chef and a house manager at their beck and call.
The house counts several living-rooms, a gym and a pool and an underfloor aquarium.
Barrie said he feels guilty to admit his fortune amounts £12million at a time where so many people in the UK live with so little.
Meanwhile, Ocean lived on benefits in a council two-bed with a tiny kitchen which she worked hard at making welcoming for her daughter.
The single mother’s budget often comes to £59 a week thanks to benefits and Ocean’s part-time work at a nearby pub, and occasional help from her mother.
‘I’m constantly paying money out, paying it back and then being helped but then I have to pay it back again, so it’s like one big circle that you just can’t get yourself out of,’ the single mother said.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and Scott Hutchinson live with Barrie’s ex-partner Tony and his partner Brent with their children
‘It’s gotten so bad that I feel bad,’ Ocean, who said she barely has money to spend on her daughter, added.
‘I always have to say no. I just want to tell her “yes” for once.’
The single mother dreamed of launching her own catering business and cooked for her family and friends.
She also cooked and froze baby food for her friend Leah’s toddler on her free time.
‘When Covid struck, I started to do my own business from home, where I cooked Caribbean food.
‘It was doing fairly, fairly well,’ she said, but adding: ‘I just don’t have the capacity or the space in the kitchen to cater for all the people, so I unfortunately had to stop. But now I’m trying to figure out how I can get my business running.’
Barrie and ex-partner Tony became the first gay couple to be registered as parents after welcoming twins Saffron and Aspen in 1990
Ocean embarked on the Rich House, Poor House swap with her best-friend Chloe, who is her daughter’s godmother.
Chloe said: ‘I think it’s very inspiring seeing a single mother. She has her struggles, she does, but she does the best for Oziana. She loves her so much.’
Ocean said she was keen to see how the other half lives, and how they made their money.
Meanwhile, Barrie said that he had read ‘this poverty trap is encapsulating so much of the UK right now’ and wanted to experience what it is like for families first-hand.
‘I would really like to see what they’re talking about.’ he said. ‘I’m hoping from this swap that we meet somebody who wants to do better with their life and in some way, we might be able to help them achieve that goal.’
It was a culture shock when Barrie and Scott moved into Ocean and Oziana’s two-bed with their daughter Valentina, two and their son Romeo, who is eight-months-old.
Barrie was especially dumbfounded to hear that Ocean only had £59 of disposable to live on for a week.
‘Trying to live and cope on that budget, I have to take my hat off to her because I don’t know how she does it,’ the father-of-eight said.
‘I just couldn’t do it myself,’ he added, ‘Trying to cope and live on her budget would be an absolute nightmare.’
Scott and Barrie were also both left sweating when they had to spend £17 on loo roll and a dinner for three on their first day.
‘Am actually worried about the rest of the week, we just spent a quarter of our budget on loo roll and a meal for tonight,’ Barrie said.
‘How do the other people live on that kind of money. It doesn’t make any sense at all,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Ocean and Chloe were left speechless after finding out that their budget for the week amounted to £5,000, and that they were allowed to spend it however they liked.
Barrie (pictured in May 2015) was given just £59 for his weekly budget on the show. In daily life, the millionaire will spend £5,000 a week
Barrie and Scott swapped lives with Ocean and her daughter for their appearance on Rich House, Poor House
The single mother also said she got a ‘massive confidence boost’ after visiting Barrie’s business UK HQ and learning how the multimillionaire grew up in a council estate and made his money from scratch.
‘He was just like a normal person like me who had an idea, who had a dream, and how he is a multi millionaire,’ she said.
As he spent more time in Ocean’s neighbourhood, Barrie learned more about her catering dream.
Her manager said of Ocean: ‘She is a hard worker, probably one of the most hardest working we have got here.
‘She wants to go into food catering, passionate about her cooking, she did it a while back, during the lockdown but with childcare, things had quit a big effect on everything,’ he went on.
The multi-millionaire was also deeply interested in the fact that Ocean cooked baby food for her friend Leah.
‘I know there is a market for that kind of already prepared food to be sold on supermarket shelves,’ he told the camera.
Barrie asked his private chef David to set up a challenge for Ocean to cook for eight of his friends for a dinner party, including starters, main, dessert and snacks.
Father-of-eight Barrie Drewitt-Barlow pictured with his daughter Valentina. He said on the show: ”Money goes a long way in buying you happiness. But the best things in life are free’
Ocean passed with flying colours, with many of his friends calling Barrie to comment on how good Ocean’s food tasted.
But as he cooked in Ocean’s kitchen, Barrie also realised she didn’t have the proper equipment to success.
‘I think it’s virtually impossible for a single mum on benefits to work in that kitchen and set a business up. Impossible,’ he said.
‘The dream is real, she’s just going about it the wrong way,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Ocean treated herself and Chloe to a spending spree, remarking it has ‘barely made a dent’ in her weekly budget.
She also treated her daughter Oziona to a session with a football coach, and her very own PS5, which reduced the tween to tears.
After spending five days in Ocean’s shoes, Barrie was determined to help her business, and pledged to back her with £250,000.
Scott also spent some time renovating the single mother’s room, and bought her a new bed.
At the end of the experience, both families reflected on their time in each other’s lives.
Ocean said she was glad she got to do the experience with her ‘two favourite people in the world.’
‘Money can’t buy me happiness in that respect,’ she added.
Meanwhile, Barrie noted: ‘Having no money makes you worry.
‘Money goes a long way in buying you happiness. But the best things in life are free,’ he concluded.
Rich House, Poor House airs at 9pm on Sunday on Channel 5.
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