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CEO and owner of various property, retail, and service companies. Daniel was the youngest star of the 2008 series of the Channel 4 programme The Secret Millionaire and is a budding business entrepreneur.

 

 

 

 

Philanthropy

 

 

 

Daniel was recently involved in the Channel 4 programme The Secret Millionaire, where he went undercover in central London. Here is an extract from Channel 4’s website - to read the full review please click here.

dan526-year-old millionaire Daniel Smith has never given to charity. Up until now only work and making money have mattered to him. He left school at 15 to join his Dad's struggling small furniture company and has since turned it into a thriving business.

He made his first million when he was 22, but Daniel's focus on business has taken its toll. Last year he hit a 'brick wall' with stress and exhaustion, and had to take six weeks off to recover. Keen to reassess his own lifestyle and do something useful, Daniel is going undercover to help homeless people in central London, Britain's homeless capital.

After just a day Daniel's in shock: "The hardest point was walking in here and realising I'm on my own with no-one and nothing” I'm starting to realise this is probably one of the biggest challenges I've taken on in my life and this is going to be a bloody tough two weeks."

Daniel starts by helping at The Connection, a day centre for the homeless in the very heart of London, which tries to provide everything from hot meals and washing facilities to helping with benefits claims and finding accommodation.

He meets Richard, a 21-year-old alcoholic whose days consist of begging for cash then a 2-mile walk to a cheap off license to buy a 3-litre bottle of cider.

And Daniel has a shocking experience when he takes to the streets to talk to rough sleepers and help connect them with services. They describe a life of begging, drinking and drug abuse.

"The people I've met I think are real good people, they've just been dealt a bad hand and not had any support or a friend or someone to just care for them, if I stayed here for another few weeks and didn't have a light at the end of the tunnel to go, I think I could easily slip like all the people I've met into maybe relying on a few beers every night to maybe knock me out and take me somewhere else."

But Daniel meets people who are trying to help. Marie Benton gives up her spare time running The Choir With No Name for vulnerable ex-homeless people who are now living in hostels and temporary accommodation. Marie offers a free meal and singing lessons, but the only money keeping it going is what she can beg and borrow from friends and family.

And he discovers that, once people are helped off the streets, there are projects aimed at supporting their rehabilitation. The charity Thames Reach take a group of ex-homeless people to a Sussex farm, run by Jude and Sally, to 'work the land'.

Daniel meets Maz, a woman who spent 28 years living on the streets as an alcoholic and drug addict. She is now clean and living in a flat with her partner, and she thanks the farm project for her rehabilitation.

Meanwhile Daniel joins Street Rescue, who undertake a nightly hunt for rough sleepers to get them into hostels, and meets a couple sleeping in cardboard boxes whose shoes were stolen while they slept, and another man, an immigrant who has lived on the street for two and a half years and has no hope of getting accommodation or benefits.

"It's made me feel quite angry to be honest with you, to see the system failing people. Some people I've spoken to are stuck, got nowhere to go, how do you help someone who's stuck? I don't know how they get out of it."

Back at The Connection Daniel starts to build a friendship with Richard who has also hit a brick wall and suffers with depression and panic attacks. But, unlike Daniel, Richard doesn't have the safety net of family and friends to support him. Daniel realises that had he not been so lucky he could have easily ended up in Richard's position.

"One thing I will do is give a bit more time to try and help people who haven't had the people I've got around me... this has genuinely touched my heart and I can honestly say I will carry this forever."

The whole experience has been eye-opening for Daniel and, moved by the stories he's heard, he sets about trying to help the people who have inspired him. And he resolves to cut back on his own work to spend more time with the friends and family who have supported him throughout his life.

"It's been an absolute amazing experience - I've questioned a lot of my own beliefs and what my high priorities are in life - being away for two weeks, and having no phone, no emails, no worry about what's happening in the business - I actually feel a lot more free, I want to enjoy it a bit more."

 

 

© Daniel Smith 2019