When it first began, THE GREAT BRITISH BENEFITS HANDOUT was aiming to change lives and how people view those on benefits. With the show currently airing its second season on Channel 5, SCOTT AND LEANNE GAVIN appeared on the first series and provide a great example of how the experiment can work.
The show’s idea is simple, unemployed families are given a briefcase with £26,000 inside. In return, the families agree to sign off benefits for twelve months. Three families did the experiment in Season One, a year later and two have not claimed benefits and are working full time. The Gavin’s are the first family, Tony with Diane are the second (aka Tidy & Sons). Despite returning to benefits, Rachel has apparently got a job and has signed off again.
Scott (who had four children when the show first aired) says the shock we see on television is real, “We knew nothing about it and didn’t know the money was there. When we opened the case, it was very overwhelming and surreal - at that point it all became a reality.” They opted to begin a business called Party Central Entertainments.
Critics were quick to judge The Gavin’s for spending too quickly, but Scott says they did their best. “I wouldn’t change anything, other than a few items like chair covers, table cloths and mascot suits for the party business.”
The Second Season of The Great British Benefits Handout has seen Lorraine Worrall spend her cash on botox and has been heavily criticised aswell. Despite this, Lorraine has started a market stall and is selling children’s clothes. Scott has some advice for this year’s families. “I would tell them to research everything about their new ventures. They are going to make mistakes, but as long as they’re only small, then the families can learn from them and get better.”
During a special update episode, we learned that The Gavin’s have proved the critics wrong and were hoping to create a zoo in Liverpool. “The zoo is our dream, the main one I have always wanted to chase. The animal visits were a step out of the norm; they help us to raise money to set up an exotic park and continue with day to day life.”
The animal visits let Scott see a variety of environments, “I love school visits, the main objective is educating children. Parties bring a cool twist and you get to meet new people.”
“My favourite animal I have would be my marmoset monkeys, they are part of my private collection and will be going into the exotic park once setup.” Scott continued, “I would love to have a spectacled caiman (crocodilian reptile), I have my eyes on a couple.”
During the TV update, we saw The Gavin’s owl. “It has imprinted on me, he is very tame and gets very upset if I leave him on his own.” Unfortunately a return of a racoon is looking unlikely, “It’s illegal to buy and sell them now, so the chances of us having a racoon are slim.”
Despite the racoon blow, The Gavin’s are planning on expanding further. “We will be getting new species and have got a few ordered, animals like foxes, fruits bats, meerkats and savannah cats.”
Scott says he plans on pressing ahead with the zoo throughout 2017, “I will have my staff doing all the visits, whilst I setup my exotic park. I’ll be doing a soft opening, inviting family, friends and the press before the public come. I will stop hiring out castles etc.”
Telly Binge spoke to Scott Gavin in March 2017. The Great Benefits Handout is airing on Channel 5 and is available online at My5. Keep up to date with The Gavin’s by following their official Facebook.