Why Leeds millionaire Matt Haycox is to fund single mum's business dream after spending a week living her life

A Yorkshire businessman who had to rebuild his career has decided to give a single mother a second chance of her own by helping her set up her own company.

Monday, 20th April 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 10:26 am

Leeds-based Matt Haycox swapped lives with mother-of-two Anna Bardgett for seven days for the Channel 5 programme, Rich House, Poor House.

Mr Haycox, 39, found the Yorkshire mother’s work ethic, dedication, and fighting spirit so impressive that afterwards he decided to help her set up her dream dog walking and grooming business.

With a £10,000 investment from Mr Haycox, 38-year-old Anna has now set up Fur Everything, a dog care business, which will launch once the coronavirus lockdown is over.

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Matt Haycox and Anna Bardgett

Mr Haycox is well-acquainted with the benefit of being given a second chance.

During his twenties he was a successful entrepreneur with a chain of lap dancing clubs.

However, his business collapsed in 2008 and in 2010 he was banned from being a company director for 12 years after an Insolvency Service investigation.He now uses his experience to advise small and medium-sized businesses on how to grow and to avoid the mistakes he made.

Mr Haycox said: “As each day went on I got to know more about Anna – through the things in her house and her friends and family.

Matt Haycox and Anna Bardgett

“I knew I was going to like her when I eventually met her. I knew she would be a lovely, kind and generous person and also I learned how much hardship she has endured.

“She works hard every single day for her kids and anyone close to her. When I met her everything I had come to expect and more was true.

“It felt only natural for me to do something for this person who has always done everything for everybody else.”

Before going on the show, Ms Bardgett worked in a photo shop in Keighley, West Yorkshire and lived in a cramped two-bedroom house with her two children, Sarah, 19 and William, 4.

She said she would “never have expected anyone to do anything like this for her” and said that the investment would be life-changing for her.

She said: “How can I describe it? It’s like a dream come true. This is something I have wanted to do my whole life.

“It’s amazing it still doesn’t feel real. My daughter is so proud and she is really made up for me.

“At the moment I work 9 to 5 every weekday so I don’t get to see my younger son, William, at all. This gives me more flexibility and it’s also a job he can help me with.

“It’s just perfect.”

Mr Haycox lives alone in a spacious split-level penthouse apartment in the Roundhay area of Leeds, overlooking the park.

On the show, the weekly budget swap saw Mr Haycox, who usually eats out most days at expensive restaurants, live on a budget of £67.13 for the week.

Meanwhile, Ms Bardgett, who normally lives on the breadline, had £1,420 during the show to spend on her and her children for the week.

He swapped his fleet of supercars –- including a yellow Ferrari – for Ms Bargett’s Ford Fiesta.

Meanwhile, the latter and her children made use of Matt’s Rolls Royce and chauffeur.

Ms Bargett and her family went horse riding, for a meal at a fancy restaurant Mr Haycox usually goes to, shopping for designer shoes, had luxury spa treatments, and had to Google how to use Matt’s fancy cooker and TV.

Anna said she plans to sign off all emails from her new company, ‘Thanks Fur Everything’.