Invisible Cities is an innovative social enterprise which trains people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city.
In partnership with Invisible Cities, The Wallich is launching Invisible (Cardiff)
Get to know this new, exciting tourist attraction coming to Cardiff.
Over the past two decades, I have experience as a Theatre Director and Producer and as a Tour Manager.
With my job, I’ve been fortunate to travel to most major cities across Europe.
No matter where I’ve been, I’ve noticed that homelessness is often ignored as people take photos of amazing monuments and panoramas – without really looking at who else is in view.
Those individuals are routinely walked past, as if they don’t exist.
People on the streets often feel invisible to the wider public, isolated and detached from their areas they live in
Individuals thrive when they feel a sense of belonging.
When you’re part of a wider support network, it helps to highlight your strengths, build your confidence and focus on what you can contribute to the community your live in.
I’ve spent the last few weeks getting to know The Wallich. I’ve been along to some of the creative projects across the city and got a chance to sing, paint and imagine with our service users.
I’ve also been soaking in the knowledge and experience that Zakia, Founder of Invisible Cities, is generously imparting on how Invisible Cities works in other cities such as Glasgow and Manchester.
There is a shared ethos to empower individuals affected by homelessness, to make positive steps through supportive training and opportunities to connect with others.
We will also connect individuals to heritage and the tourism sector who previously felt this is not a space for them is an important aim of the project as well.
Through powerful storytelling, we hope to change perceptions and raise awareness around how the wider public can positively impact homelessness.
Both organisations will play a big part in the training programme and ongoing opportunities for trainee guides to access heritage.
We hope to launch our first tour in early spring and create a buzz across the tourism and hospitality sectors in Cardiff.
Guides will design and develop their own tours, in their own words, centred around a topic which is important to them.
Invisible tours in other cities have included sports, crime and punishment, architecture and more.
I’m hoping the tour guides we recruit will catch the tour guide bug, or it becomes as a catalyst to find fulfilment and progression elsewhere.
Being a tour guide was intended to be a short-term opportunity for me, but I loved it so much, fifteen years on I haven’t hung up my umbrella. I hope this will change the lives of others, as it has mine.