Mixed reception for C4 'altruists'

Indira Das-Gupta

A TV programme in which rich philanthropists live undercover in disadvantaged communities before deciding who will get £50,000 of their own money has had a mixed response from charities.

Secret Millionaire on Channel 4 next month will follow five entrepreneurs, including Glasgow "curry king" Charan Gill, as they spend 10 days living on the minimum wage or benefits.

"It's an excellent idea," said Clive Tilley, director of development and communications at Elizabeth Finn Care, which works with people in financial need. "Viewers will be shocked to discover that not everyone conforms to the stereotype of those on benefits."

But Megan Pacey, director of policy at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "It could undermine the work of the sector. It would be more responsible to pair contestants with charities."

A spokeswoman for New Philanthropy Capital, which advises donors, said: "Making a real difference is what drives most donors - not getting their names up in lights."

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