Latest News

Scroll down to find all the latest news, views and opinion from Invisible Edinburgh!

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Doogie Goodstuff, brand ambassador for Buy the Good Stuff, and Claire Pattullo, CEO of Edinburgh Social Enterprise, joined Invisible Cities founder Zakia Moulaoui at the launch of out new tour developed to raise awareness of social enterprises in the city.

Buy the Goodstuff is Edinburgh’s Social Enterprise brand. When you see Doogie or the Buy the Good Stuff logo in shops or businesses you know that the profits are reinvested to address the most pressing issues, from homelessness and unemployment to waste reduction and climate change. Doogie also makes appearances at festivals and events to help spread the message further of the good work of social enterprise in Scotland.

Doogie’s next appearance will be at this year’s Social in the Gardens - Scotland's Festival of Social Enterprise, which captures the magic of some of the most incredible social enterprises in Edinburgh and beyond, bringing them together for 2 special days of music, comedy, dance, food and drink, as well as kids events. Social in the Gardens will be bigger and better this year due to the ongoing support from Scottish Government, Business Gateway, Link Group, PwC and the University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Social Enterprise is delighted to join forces with Invisible Cities to promote this new tour which highlights some of the fantastic social enterprises that can be found in the city centre. It’s great to see one of our members developing an excellent product which creates added value for other members and raises awareness of social enterprise as an ethical business model”.
Claire Pattullo, CEO, Edinburgh Social Enterprise

Through our work at Invisible Cities, we have realised that the public is even more curious and eager to discover what social enterprises are and what they do. We get many request for me to speak to groups about our work, or for us to take people around a variety of organisations. That is why we decided to create this tour. And if we can highlight other great organisations along the way, it is even better!”
Zakia Moulaoui, Founder, Invisible Cities

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New Tour Coming to Edinburgh!

Written on June 05, 2018
Invisible Edinburgh Tours

As part of the Leith Festival 2018, Invisible (Edinburgh) is launching a brand new tour:

Leith: The Trainspotting Generation!

Paul, who finished his training with us a couple of months ago, has chosen Leith as the theme of his tour. Paul has spent most of his life in Leith and is a big fan of the Trainspotting books and films. As a result, his tour will focus on this part of Edinburgh, famous landmarks and details of the books/films.

The Leith Festival, which is an annual event celebrating all things Leith, will take place from Saturday 9th June to Sunday 17th June 2018 and the launch of Paul's tour will be part of the programme!

On June 15th at 3pm, visitors will be able to go on Paul's tour for the first time ever!

You can find more information about it and book your ticket here.

For more information on the Leith Festival, visit their Facebook Page

At Invisible (Edinburgh) we can't wait for Paul's Tour as we have already seen previews and know it will be amazing! Good luck Paul!

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Back in October 2017, our founder Zakia took part in the Ashoka Emerging Innovator Bootcamp that took place in Berlin. She spent 3 days with other European social entrepreneurs in the heart of the German capital. You can read more about her experience here.

It was in Berlin that Zakia met Libby, CEO of On Our Radar, a non-profit communications agency for unheard communities. They work with marginalised communities who hold deep insight into some of the world's most complex issues.

From this meeting, came an idea for collaboration.

And so, on Monday 23rd April, Invisible Cities, On Our Radar and The Brick Box, an arts organisation based in England, brought the Electric Fireside to Edinburgh for Community Conversations.

At the Leith Walk Police Box, our favourite venue in Edinburgh, we installed the electric fireside and asked people from the local community to gather around the fire and tell us about what matters to them.

Community Conversations is funded by Comic Relief and is using a participatory social research approach. Members of the community (the general public, local businesses, local organisations, etc) are brought together in a facilitated space to share dialogues around solutions, and through this process, the aim is to engage with communities in voicing their ideas and solution to Comic Relief.

The event took place from 4 to 8pm on Monday and was a real success! Many stopped by, shared insight on their communities around a cup of tea!

More photos from the event will be shared soon!

We would like to thank everyone for making this event happen: Monty, at the Leith Walk Police Box and all the volunteers who helped during the day.

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Scotmid Supports Street Barber (Edinburgh)

Written on April 05, 2018
Scotmid

Everyone at Invisible Cities would like to thank Scotmid for their donation in support of our Street Barer (Edinburgh) project.

They have generously offered us a cash donation, as well as vouchers, to purchase refreshments for our events!

Our founder Zakia says: "We are so appreciative of all the support we have been receiving for this project and it is great to see companies such as Scotmid also contribute. They care about the people in their community."

The Street Barber (Edinburgh) run once a month- on the last Saturday- from the Leith Walk Police Box but we also attend other events throughout the city providing free haircuts and toiletries to homeless men. So far, our barber Sean has given haircuts to over 30 men in the city!

Scotmid is able to make donations in their local communities because they are an independent co-operative society. They are not owned by a private board of directors. They are owned by 60,000 members who all have an equal say in how they are run.

If you wish to join their Society, you can pick up a form at your local Scotmid store and submit it to the cashier along with £1 share capital.

To find out more about their community work, you can like them at facebook.com/scotmid, check out their youtube.com/scotmid1 channel or follow them Twitter @scotmid.

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Airbnb

Today, Airbnb launches Experiences in Edinburgh and Invisible (Edinburgh) tours are part of them!

As part of its drive to deliver a global end-to-end travel platform, travellers and locals can now choose from more than 30 Edinburgh-based Experiences designed and led by local experts.

To bring Experiences in Edinburgh to life, Airbnb has announced a strategic tourism partnership with VisitScotland, to help increase the economic benefits of tourism and travel to more places across Scotland.

Edinburgh is the first city outside of London to offer Airbnb Experiences.

Invisible (Edinburgh) walking tours are a "Social Impact Experience" which means 100% of the trip costs go to our organization.

Zakia, Invisible Cities founder says "Having our tours on Airbnb is a fantastic opportunity for us. We share Airbnb values of wanting to make the world more local so it makes sense to partner with them."

Find two of our Edinburgh Tours here:

Powerful Women of Edinburgh

Crime and Punishment

For more information on the launch of Airbnb Experiences in Edinburgh click here.

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We continue celebrating International Women's Day!

After introducing some of the amazing female guides around Europe, meet the women who started alternative tours in their own city! Lisa in Barcelona, Alice in Manchester and our very own Zakia!

Lisa- Barcelona, Hidden City Tours- Creating Jobs for Barcelona's Homeless

When Hidden City Tours founder Lisa Grace was made redundant whilst on maternity leave it was time to reflect upon life and make some changes, "I felt I had spent far too many years helping the global food, drink and cosmetic giants flog more of their products". Whilst looking for voluntary work, Lisa stumbled across a UK based social Enterprise offering homeless walking tours. "From that moment on, there was no looking back.... I knew Barcelona would be perfect for a homeless walking tour project: Barcelona´s biggest asset being tourism, visitor origin correlating closely to the most generous givers to charity, the growing homeless problems in the city and increased consumer consciousness for responsible tourism“. A complete newbie to the world of entrepreneurial tourism Lisa admits “starting out in a new sector is quite a challenge but no-one said it would be easy, right? And who wants to take the easy road anyway!?”

Find out more about Hidden City Tours visit their website.

Alice- Manchester- Invisible (Manchester)

Alice Sparks, a student at Manchester University, is still in the process of setting up Invisible (Manchester) the new location for Invisible Cities! After finding out about Invisible (Edinburgh), Alice inquired about setting up the same thing in Manchester and so started working with Zakia to start the adventure! Manchester will be the first expansion for Invisible Cities and Alice is looking forward to having the tours at home too.

For more information on Alice and Invisible (Manchester) read this article.

Zakia- Edinburgh- Invisible Cities

Our very own Zakia set up the social enterprise in 2016, after having worked with the Homeless World Cup Foundation and visiting many projects around the world, supporting homeless people. Today, Invisible Cities is growing fast with new locations: Manchester and Glasgow being launched in 2018. About International Women's Day Zakia says "It is important to celebrate women and what they achieve. I wish there was more representation of strong women. We need these to keep doing what we do."

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Hidden Tours in Barcelona with Lisa (right)

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As we celebrate International Women's Day 2018, we wanted to highlight some very powerful women: guides of alternative tours around Europe- our own Edinburgh based guide Biffy, but also Viv in London and Maria in Athens.

Guides are what makes walking tours so special and when they share their own personal stories, it is even more special!

In Edinburgh, Biffy has chosen the theme of "Powerful Women of Edinburgh" for her tours and will tell her customers about Maggie Dickson, Elsie Inglis or JK Rowling. She has been a guide with Invisible (Edinburgh) since 2016 and has taken part in events such as Audacious Women Festival and taken groups from the Scottish Government or Edinburgh University along the streets of the Scottish Capital.

Viv, originally from Norway, is now a guide with Unseen Tours in London.

She has lived in London since 1975 and became homeless 16 years ago after a relationship broke up. She really enjoys being involved with the walking tours and especially researching the history of the area such as Covent Garden.

Maria, from Athens, has been involved with “Invisible Tours“ since they started. She talks of her experience with drama and the theatre lessons she took, which really helped her improve her speech skills and what she needed to become a guide.

We personally think that all three women are inspiring, bold and strong! Check out their tours if you are ever in their cities.

To celebrate International Women's Day, Biffy is delivering her tour on Thursday 8th at 3pm. To book your space click here.

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We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in Leith Chooses, alongside 66 other fantastic Project.

This local initiative distributes funding to projects, local to the Leith Area, Edinburgh. The projects selected are divided into three separate groups (small, medium and large), and locals are asked to vote, in person on March 3rd and online from March 3rd to 10th. In the vote, projects are only up against others in their group, not the whole 67.

Invisible (Edinburgh) applied for funding for our Street Barber (Edinburgh) project. Every last Saturday of the month, we provide free haircuts to homeless men as well as free toiletries and hot drinks. With these funds, we want to extend the services to women, and include podiatry services, with the support of volunteers from Queen Margaret University.

The Invisible (Edinburgh) team will be at the Kirkgate Community Centre, to present our Street Barber project and get votes on the day. If you are in the area, please do come and say Hi.

From March 3rd to 10th, people are able to vote online, but need to have a special access code and password, available from our team, or from local libraries.

Wish us luck!

**** Special Announcement: Edinburgh has experienced extreme weather over the last few days. However the event is still going on on March 3rd from 12 to 3pm. The deadline for voting online has been extended until March 17th.

Sean Barber

Our awards & recognitions

  • Thistle Award
  • Social Enterprise
  • Travel and Hospitality

Supported by

  • Unltd

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