Who are they?
Invisible Cities is a social enterprise that trains people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city. After starting in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2016, they have now expanded to 4 locations, including Glasgow, York and Manchester. They provide life skills training so that guides can access other opportunities of development, employment and education. Training includes public speaking, customer service or confidence building.
"Invisible (Manchester) grew organically from customers' demand and the hard work of volunteers who then became paid staff. Receiving funding to be able to grow even further is incredible testament to their work and will be key in us reaching more people who have experienced homelessness" Zakia Moulaoui Guery, Invisible Cities Founder & CEO
What do they do and why?
Invisible Cities provide people with the skills to build confidence and achieve goals to grow. They also provide people a voice when too often they have not had their voices heard. Their tours break down the stigma that still exists around homelessness by showcasing that everyone has skills and stories to tell. The tours are off the beaten track and designed by the guides themselves and often show you things you will not see on other tours.
What funding did they receive and how did it help them?
Invisible Cities started operating in England in 2018 and 2019 and realised the great potential for growth they have here in Manchester. They received £30,000 to create a Business Development strategy and staff role, to support them to become fully financially sustainable.
For more information about Invisible Cities, visit https://invisible-cities.org/