Invisible Cities is an award-winning social enterprise that trains people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city.
These tours provide a unique insight into the city in focus, with themes chosen by the guides themselves, interweaving the history of the city with their own experiences and interests.
Invisible Cities began in 2016 and has trained people to become tour guides across Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Manchester.
A vital area of The Wallich’s work lies in the development of long-term, sustainable solutions out of homelessness.
This begins with building confidence and skills through engaging clients in the design, delivery, evaluation, and improvement of the services they receive.
This initial participation leads onto more formal progression activities aimed at helping people achieve a sustainable level of independence through education, training, and employment.
Guides can either be paid or work on a voluntary basis, depending on which options best suits their current circumstances.
The income from tours can be re-invested into the organisation and used to support tour guides training in skills-based areas such as budgeting and money management.
Guides will receive high-quality training – usually through a dedicated block of workshop training, followed by anywhere from four months to a year developing their own tour and practicing it.
This element of the project will be delivered by creative and community partners including National Museum Cardiff and Glamorgan Archives, drawing on their skills and expertise in recording, interpreting and engaging a diversity of different audiences in history and heritage.
Hello, I’m John, a poet and activist, who has always called Cardiff my home.
I grew up here, studied journalism here and went on my first protest right outside Cardiff Castle for the Occupy movement.
I’ve been giving voice to the issues that matter to me through my poems for over a decade.
I think that you understand a lot about a place from the people who live there and the things that they fight for or against.
A while back, I lost my job around the same time as being evicted as the landlady wanted to sell up, I was in a vulnerable position.
I was living in temporary accommodation until recently, looking after my mental well-being.
Being involved in the creative community in Cardiff has played an important part in this.
I don’t always like to give eye contact – it’s nothing personal, but part of living with Aspergers.
However, I’ve always enjoyed researching the stories and events that make us, and being able to use my interest in social history as part of (Invisible Cardiff) has given me much more confidence.
Visit the sites where protests have animated the city and paved the way for change. John takes you to the iconic meeting places where global and local causes have been fought for.
At the heart of this is the relationship between those tensions – Cardiff as a capital city of a small working-class nation striving to find a place on the world stage.
John takes you through different forms of protest, visiting the monuments to changemakers who have shaped Wales both past and present, from Dic Penderyn to Betty Campbell.
John skilfully weaves in his craft of poetry, sharing his own work alongside pivotal pieces. This tour is both personal and political, giving you an insight into Cardiff as a creative catalyst.
Starting at the Betty Campbell monument, this tour will lead you into the creative heart of Womanby street, piecing together how the Romans, Vikings, the Butes and Pirates all made their mark on the city.
You’ll hear first hand experiences of protest from the Occupy movement outside Cardiff Castle, to saving local music venues.
The tour will end at the feet of Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS and advocate for social housing.
This monument has been the starting point for protest in Cardiff for decades and will leave you questioning what you would change if you could.
Tours bookings are available via the Invisible Cities website.
Bulk bookings or general enquiries can be sent to InvisibleCardiff@thewallich.net
If you can help promote our tours, support pathways for our service users or are interested in working in partnership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are over the moon to start working with The Wallich in Wales. They are all about creating opportunities for people so having Invisible Cities tours as part of what they offer fits really well.
“Cardiff is also a great location for our tours, with thousands of tourists, events and a rich history to share.”