Great British Benefits Handout: how did the stars get on?

The answer may surprise you

Lorriane, one of the stars of the new show.

When Channel 5 launched its Great British Benefits Handout programme last year, many people prophesied disaster.

For the show, a group of benefit claimants were given £26,000 up front, on condition that they signed off benefits for a year and tried to find work.

Many viewers expected the families who took part to simply blow the cash.

But it's now been revealed that the experiment was very much a success, with each recipient of the cash having put the money to good use, and most already back in work. Their stories will be told on a new show, The Great British Benefits Handout Changed My Life, which will air on 9 February at 9.00pm on Channel 5.

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Tony Herridge, his partner Diane Esders and their son Michael Herridge used the cash to set up second-hand goods business Tidy & Sons in Hull. They've been touring markets and car boot sales and have become local celebrities.

Tony has also been working two days a week doing security for a local chemist, and the family have stayed off benefits for a year.

"It has not been a easy year by all means," says Tony on the company's Facebook page. "More ups and downs than the big dipper."

But, he says, "Soon as the nice weather comes again we will be at all the markets and car boot sales again - we have a lot of stock in to sell."

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Meanwhile, Scott and Leanne, from Kirby, Liverpool, were widely criticised when the first series aired for having spent some of the money on a lizard and a raccoon.

But they've had the last laugh - Scott now puts on reptile shows for schools and children's parties, and says he's earning good money. The couple are even considering setting up a small zoo.

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And while single mother Rachael - on benefits for 20 years - isn't yet in work, things are looking promising. She's paid off all her debts, and is embarking on a special educational needs diploma.

"Looking into the future, my ambition is to get a good job, working with the disabled," she tells the Sun. "Now, I'm going in to training, so I'm not just sitting here."

The show will also feature six new families taking up the challenge - will they be as successful?


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