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

Scotmid Supports Street Barber (Edinburgh)

Written on April 05, 2018

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, check out their channel or follow them Twitter @scotmid.

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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.


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)


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

Charity Photo Shoot for Invisible (Manchester)

Written on February 23, 2018

Ever since we let you know we were starting new adventures in Manchester, the support we have received has been incredible! 

From follow Invisible (Manchester) on Facebook or Twitter, to sending us words of encouragements, it has been wonderful to see all the reactions!

Manchester based photographer, Emma Boileau, has decided to go even further and has organised a Charity Photoshoot, in order to raise funds for our newly set-up activities in the city. 

About her involvement, Emma says: "I very recently discovered Invisible Manchester and wanted to help as soon as I heard about it."

She is organising a photo shoot over two days: March 24th & 25th in various locations in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. 

For £75 (all of which will go to Invisible (Manchester)) people can get 10 high resolution images via digital download. All ready for printing, making t-shirts, mugs, etc.

Each shoot will last for 30 minutes.

To book a spot, please contact

If you are not able to attend, but would like to make a contribution anyway, you can donate to our online page here: 

If you are interested in fundraising or supporting Invisible (Edinburgh) or Invisible (Manchester) please contact 

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The team at Invisible (Edinburgh) is getting bigger and bigger with new guides being trained up as we speak. But we have also been extremely lucky to recruit new volunteers; including Martin!

Martin is a professional tour guide based in Edinburgh and has been supporting our trainees by sharing his own experience and tips on how to be a better guide! 

He runs his own tours of Edinburgh - you can find his website here:

When we asked him about why he got involved with Invisible Cities, Martin said:

"I wanted to help as I've witnessed the increase in homelessness and felt my experience was relevant to such a worthwhile cause. I'm keen to help where I can sharing the knowledge I've acquired over the last couple of years with my own tour whilst at the same time learn more about Invisible Edinburgh's volunteers and its guides."

We are so grateful to have people like Martin helping us every day. For the next few weeks, we will showcase all the people who make Invisible Cities a reality!



"I am looking forward to contributing to Invisible (Edinburgh) through helping their guides and ultimately, seeing their tours develop."

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We are proud to announce that Invisible Cities will be expanding the reach of our activities in 2018 by offering tours in Manchester.

A new regional division in the North-West of England will be led by 20-year-old student Alice Sparks. Alice, pictured, was inspired by one of our tours during a visit to Edinburgh in September and recognised that a similar service was not available her native Manchester.


The team here in Edinburgh have worked intensively with Alice over the past few months to establish what promises to be an exciting new venture, the first of many satellite organisations we plan to establish in the towns and cities in the coming years.  

In 2017 it was reported that 4,428 people in Greater Manchester (one in every 633 people in the region) no longer have a permanent roof over their heads, with homelessness rising as much as 30% in four boroughs in the city.


Alice has already begun to work in partnership with The Booth Centre, a day-centre that offers advice and support to Manchester’s homeless, to find suitable candidates to become our first Trainee Tour Guides south of the border.

 In a fantastic gesture, The University of Manchester has also offered Alice a £500 grant from the SALC Student Engagement and Community Fund that will be put towards training fees, uniforms and advertisement. 

Training for new tour guides will take place between 26th-28th January with the first Invisible (Manchester) tours due to begin in mid-February.

To find our more please contact Alice at or by visiting our new Facebook page.

Bring Invisible Cities to your town!

If you feel homeless and socially disadvantaged people in your town or city could benefit from becoming part of Invisible Cities Tour Guides, please contact our Founder, Zakia Moulaoui via email at

Invisible (Edinburgh) Impact Report 2017

Written on December 21, 2017

Founded in April 2016, Invisible (Edinburgh) has enjoyed a busy and exciting journey since the organisation was set up more than 18 months ago. 

In that time we have successfully connected with three trainee tour guides (who have become an invaluable part of our team), engaged nearly 1,500 local people and visitors to the city, and challenged and changed the attitudes of participants toward the issue of homelessness. 

So it is with great pride that we are publishing our first ever Impact Report, a testament to the progress made by Invisible (Edinburgh) and the hard work and support of everyone involved in our organisation. 

To download our 2017 Impact Report, please follow this link

A special visitor

Written on December 18, 2017

On the morning of 14th December we were honoured to have Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central & Scottish Government Minister for Local Government & Housing, join us on an Invisible (Edinburgh) tour.

We had met the Minister at the Social Enterprise Awards ceremony last month and he accepted our offer to join us on a tour, choosing to accompany  us on Sonny's Crimes and Punishment tour.

Everyone had a fantastic time and enjoyed a hot drink with our friends at Grassmarket Community Project at the end of the tour. Here we were joined by their CEO for an interesting discussion on housing, B&Bs and innovative projects.

Mr Stewart was impressed by how knowledgeable Sonny was and the whole team at Invisible (Edinburgh) was really happy to talk with our special guests.

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Although our guides Angie and Sonny completed their training with Invisible (Edinburgh) quite some time ago, they never stop looking for opportunities to improve the service they offer to our customers.

As they are both interested in becoming public speakers, they jumped at the chance to attend a recent online coaching session with Catt Wolff from California, USA. Catt has been performing stand up comedy for more than 10 years and also offers practical, how-to guides to help people strengthen their public speaking.

Catt spoke to our guides via Skype last week to give tips on how to be better public speakers and answer their questions, with both Angie and Sonny left positive and hopeful after a useful and informative one hour session. 

It is really important for our guides to be coached and guided by professionals in the UK and further afield as it gives them so much pride in what they do and of course, improves the experience of an Invisible (Edinburgh) tour!

Following the session Catt said; "I'm so very glad to know that Angie and Sonny got a lot out of it. I think it's great what the organisation does and I'm honoured to be able to help."

The team at Invisible (Edinburgh) would like to thank Catt for her time and patience - to find out more about her fantastic 'Stand Up For Speakers' initiative, visit her website.

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This Christmas the team at Invisible (Edinburgh) will be donating presents to the wonderful 'Appetite for Change' initiative.  

Appetite for Change is a very special movement based here in the Scottish capital, founded in 2015 by Eileen Inglis. Realising the festive period can be a stressful time for those who are facing hard times both socially and financially, Eileen decided to host an annual Christmas Day dining event with great food and a welcoming atmosphere that brings people together.

In support of Eileen, who has worked to support hundreds of social entrepreneurs in the city, the team at Invisible (Edinburgh) will  distribute presents to those attending this year's Appetite for Change annual Christmas meal, using profits from our tours and donations from our network of friends, colleagues and strategic partners.

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible (Edinburgh), said "Christmas can be a difficult time for people, especially if they have no one to share it with. That's why we wanted to contribute, in a very small way, to what Appetite for Change is doing. 

"Our guides are also very excited about making someone's Christmas a bit better!"

The Appetite for Change Christmas Day event is now in its third year and benefits from the support of a fantastic team of volunteers and local businesses including The Fig Tree Bistro, The Kilted Lobster and the Edinburgh Junk Food Project.

To find out more about Appetite for Change, please visit their Facebook page.


On Saturday 28th October our first Street Barber (Edinburgh) event took place at the Leith Walk Police box. It was a great success and our volunteer barber Sean gave haircuts to seven men!

We also handed out free tea, coffee and cakes as well as toiletries to the homeless men and women who came along.

A couple of Edinburgh City Councillors joined us for a while as well. Susan Rae (Scottish Green - Leith Walk) and Kate Campbell (SNP Councillor for Portobello-Craigmillar, Chair of Edinburgh Council Homelessness Task Force) both spent a couple of hours with us.

The Street Barber (Edinburgh) will take place on the last Saturday of every month and we are planning on adding free haircuts for women to our service with the help of another volunteer hairdresser.

In order to continue providing this service, we are asking local barbers to help us with fundraising by donating £1 from their hair cut/shave prices during December, the proceeds of which will help future events to take place!

We are also looking for donations of toiletries that will be distributed to people who come for haircuts. 

If you would like to know more, contact

Street Barber Edinburgh123

We are proud to announce the official launch our new 'Street Barber Edinburgh' project! 

Through this campaign we will be offering a free hair cut to homeless men courtesy of our newly trained barber Sean, with a team of volunteers offering help and guidance as well as free toiletries and meal vouchers.

Based at the Leith Walk Police Box, the Street Barber service will be available on the last Saturday of each month going forward.

Our Founder Zakia said; "Invisible (Edinburgh) is all about bringing people dignity and making our guides and the wider homeless community feel like they are worthy. 

"I believe the Street Barber Edinburgh is another way of doing just that. We will start with male hair cuts and if things go well, do women, make up and much more! These are exciting times for us!"

Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this exciting new initiative, coming soon! 

Ieb Berlin

We're delighted to announce that our founder, Zakia Moulaoui, has been selected to attend the Emerging Innovators Bootcamp in Berlin next October!

The annual bootcamps, led by American Express and Ashoka, gather 100 change-makers from around the globe who are positively transforming communities and working toward revolutionising healthcare, education, food, security and more.

As an Emerging Innovator at the event, Zakia will receive industry insights, personalised feedback, direct connections to sector leaders and ongoing support from a network of peers who are rising stars in the world of social enterprise.

For more information on the Emerging Innovators Bootcamp, please follow this link.


We are honoured to announce that Invisible (Edinburgh) has been nominated for not one, but two industry awards!

Our first nomination comes from The Travel and Hospitality Awards, who recognise hotels, tour operators and experiences shortlisted by subscribers, travel journalists and experts. We're delighted to be chosen, but even more pleased that this nomination has come through recommendations from people who have taken and enjoyed our tours! 

As if that wasn't great enough, we have also been named as a regional finalist for the Thistle Awards within the Tourism Category! These awards are organised by VisitScotland in association with a host of prominent tourism organisations based all across Scotland, we will find out on November 23rd whether or not we have progressed to the National stage!

Fingers crossed for us and stay tuned to find out how we get on!

Volunteer with Invisible (Edinburgh)!

Written on September 28, 2017
Join The Team

We are currently recruiting friendly and creative volunteers to help us take Invisible (Edinburgh) to the next level!  

So if you are based in Edinburgh and looking for an opportunity to help a local social enterprise or gain valuable work experience you may be able to help with the following! 

Database Inputting

Firstly, we need help with creating a simple marketing database of all our customers, contacts and friends so we can get the best possible coverage for our monthly newsletter. Then, we're also on the lookout for someone with the skills to create a quick and efficient way to record feedback and comments from people who attend our tours. Can you help?

Attending Events 

Invisible (Edinburgh) attends lots of local events throughout the year, including markets, fairs and exhibitions. We need someone to come along to these events to help us promote our tours and let people know what we are about! Interested?

Supporting our soon to be launched Stand and Venue 

These are exciting times for Invisible (Edinburgh) and we're looking forward to having our own sales stand and venue open in the coming months. We are currently looking for talented salespeople to promote our tours and sell tickets in central Edinburgh, and to help out at our proposed new weekend faciltiy for homeless people in the city.  

Marketing Support 

The Invisible (Edinburgh) team has identified a need to better showcase who we are and what we do, so we would welcome any advice and assistance on how to step up our marketing strategy and digital presentation! From leafleting and Facebooking to tweeting to greeting - can you help us to spread the word? 

Keen to join the team?

We are aiming to organise a first volunteer meeting in mid-October, if you feel that you could help us with any one of these roles or more, please get in touch via and let us know how you can make a difference! 

Travel the world… differently!

Written on August 25, 2017
Tour London

As you might have heard, our founder Zakia Moulaoui got the inspiration for Invisible (Edinburgh) after a visit to Greece, but did you know that there are many other alternative tours you can take in other countries?

Last month we visited our friends at UNSEEN Tours in London and took a wonderful trip around London Bridge with David. It was the perfect opportunity to meet some of the project's coordinators and ask questions about their journey.

The tours of London started from the ‘Sock Mob’ initiative and grew slowly from there. Today they have four guides who offer tours to different areas of the Capital, across Camden, London Bridge and Brick Lane!

Zakia said: “It is always great to meet with similar projects around the world. You see how they do things, and there is always some great tips and advice.

“It is also reassuring the know we all go through similar experiences. Everyone in London was very welcoming and genuinely interested in our work here in Scotland. We cannot wait for them to come and visit us now!"

For more information on Unseen tours, click here.

Speaking out for social inclusion

Written on August 14, 2017
Street Work

Last month we were invited to speak at a Streetwork Streetvoice meeting focused around social involvement. 

Our guide,Sonny, spoke alongside Grant from Hepatitis Scotland and Hazel from Street Soccer Scotland, about his involvement in Invisible (Edinburgh) and why it is important to have a voice and feel like you really belong.

We are keen to organise more public speaking for our guides and our founder, Zakia, as we feel they make are a fantastic engagement tool and offer larger audiences (such as businesses, schools and clubs) an opportunity to to discuss homelessness, social inclusion and the beauty of our city.

If you are interested in receiving a speaker from Invisible (Edinburgh) please contact our founder for more information!


In the second of a series of new posts we’re highlighting another of the lovely landmarks, social enterprises and local businesses we pass by during our tours.

This week we’re featuring the superb Grassmarket Community Project!

As the name suggests, the organisation is based in the iconic 'Grassmarket' neighbourhood of central Edinburgh. We share an awful lot in common with this social enterprise as they also offer support and opportunity to those who have been experiencing homelessness.

The Grassmarket Community Project takes an innovative approach to creating community and providing sanctuary and support to participants, many of whom are amongst the most vulnerable of our citizens. 

Through mentoring, training and education offered in a nurturing environment, the project helps to develop the skills which enable participants to reach their full potential and move away from unhealthy and unsociable cycles.

We work closely with the Grassmarket team and really enjoy everything they organise. Last year our guide Biffy took part in one of their excellent discussion panels on the issue of women's education, whilst our founder Zakia spoke at their excellent World Homelessness Day event .

The project runs a superb café which we always visit as part of our guided routes. They offer amazing food and hot beverages and a 20% discount to everyone popping in during one of our tours!

For more information, please visit their website!

A letter from America

Written on June 19, 2017
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Invisible (Edinburgh) regularly welcomes students from Wisconsin, USA as our tour is a regular feature on their regional school programme!

Counselling students regularly travel to Scotland for a study trimester and as part of their course, they always take a tour with us.

Today, one of their students has sent us a lovely review, so we thought we would share it with you all: 

"Coming into the trip, I knew a little about the views of society in Scotland. I had heard that they are much more 'democratic' and are very caring for those in need. I think it is unfair and completely frustrating that in the American society we have to immediately classify caring for others as being a political party, or associate caring about others as expensive.  

In America many homeless people are victim blamed, or just ignored as a real issue in general. I liked the UK perspective how treating the person as a whole and providing them with resources...

Sonny was great at showing this through the locations he brought us. He showed us the typical historical tour sites. He also offered insight to the resources the locals had. He did share locations that people who become homeless often stay near or in.  

I thought as a whole, the social enterprise systems where fantastic for society and taking on a cause to help society benefit, rather than a business to make profit for specific set of people and but the vulnerable people at a greater risk.

Sonny helped show that stigmas and stereotypes can be reduced through knowledge and understanding of those around you; that is just what the tour helped me see.

It was incredibly informative by not only showing how or where people in need may live, but by also sharing that people in Scotland are able to get the financial support they need to better themselves and start making changes. 

In America, this process is similar... but much slower and with little support for realistic humane living conditions. By sticking up for others rights and well-being, we are able to create a better society around us. In addition to not being faced with the upset or guilt when seeing people who became homeless in the United States.

Overall, it was an incredible and eye-opening experience to see first-hand experience with how Scotland deals with those who are a more targeted group of society in America. I would recommend others to do a similar tour if they had the chance.  

The knowledge learned from Sonny about Social Enterprises, makes me realize how simply sustainable a business helping others can be, and how it in-turn positively effects society."

To read other reviews or to leave one yourself if you have been on one of our tours, visit our Trip Advisor page!

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This week we caught up with Angie, who is currently training to be an Invisible (Edinburgh) guide. 

Our Founder Zakia asked Angie a few quick questions over a cup of tea at Invisible (Edinburgh) head-quarters: 

Hey Angie, would you like to introduce yourself?

"Good day Mate! How you going? I am Angie and I am from Oz but I have lived in Edinburgh for 5 years.

"I am still here after all this time because I love the arts and Edinburgh is the festival city! I came here to be close to my daughter but I stayed because I love it! 

"I've continued my love for the arts right through my life from where I began as a drama teacher."

Why did you decide to get involved with Invisible (Edinburgh)?

"I'm a trained teacher and being a tour guide, giving people information from a different angle is not that different." 

"I don't know what will come out of it but I want to try. I liked the training, you cant expect people to take others on a tour without giving them tools to do it well."

What do you expect from becoming a tour guide soon?

"I want to enthuse people about everything Edinburgh has to offer. There are so many things to do here - hidden stuff! I want to make them aware of all the possibilities the city has to offer!"

Stay tuned for news of Angie's first tour, we'll be backing a big announcement very soon. Can you guess what it will be about?


We are delighted to be welcoming a group of French students from Universite Paris Dauphine for a special Social Enterprise ‘Hold-Up’ event held here in Edinburgh.

Led by the MakeSense organisation, Hold-Up events form a creative workshop where students and change-makers work together to create solutions for the many challenges social enterprises such as Invisible (Edinburgh) encounter.

Since 2011 MakeSense has helped more than 1,000 social entrepreneurs in cities across the world to accelerate their impact by helping to find resolutions to a wide range of issues including participation, promotion and funding.

We’re very excited to be meeting with the group and look forward to developing some fantastic strategies to drive Invisible (Edinburgh) toward the future. As part of their visit, the group will be treated to a free guided tour of the city!

The ‘Hold-Up’ event will take place from 2pm to 5pm on Thursday 1st June at the Serenity Cafe in central Edinburgh.

To find out more, please contact

Edin Tour Event

We're excited to announce that Invisible (Edinburgh) will be exhibiting at the forthcoming Edinburgh Tourism Showcase Event.

The event takes place from 10am to 2.30pm on Wednesday May 17th, at the Assembly Rooms at 54 George Street, Edinburgh.

The event is a great opportunity to promote the work that Invisible (Edinburgh) does and to engage with other tourist organisations such as hoteliers, taxi drivers and conference organisers. Our team of Edinburgh Tour Guides will be attending along with our Founder, Zakia Moulaoui. 

Zakia said: "It is important we promote our tours to the rest of the tourism industry in Edinburgh and Scotland so we no longer stand out just as a social enterprise, but as a tourism business full stop.

“We are really excited about the event as it is the first of its kind we are taking part in. It will be great to meet other organisations and show them what we do.”

We’ll be live Tweeting from the event from the Invisible (Edinburgh) Twitter account, remember to follow us and use the hashtag #EdTourismShowcase.

To buy tickets for the event, please follow this link.


Don’t miss the chance to join a very special event next Friday!

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible (Edinburgh) will be speaking at a forthcoming event to be held by our friends at CreativeMornings.

Zakia will be talking as part of an international series of events examining ‘the beyond’, which focuses on the human resilience to push our own boundaries, explore the possibilities of the world and to survive.  

The event takes place on Friday 28th April from 8:30am - 10:00am and will be hosted at The Fruitmarket Gallery near Waverley Train Station.

Zakia said: “I am truly honoured to be speaking at CreativeMornings Edinburgh next week.

“I look forward to discussing homelessness and the work Invisible (Edinburgh) do, plus I’ll be bringing along some special guests!”

Following the talk CreativeMornings attendees can join an Invisible (Edinburgh) tour around the city at the reduced price of just £6 per person.

Spaces are limited so please book your place now to avoid disappointment!

P.S: Eventbrite password is 'CreativeMornings'

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Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible (Edinburgh), was a guest speaker at a recent TedX event held in the city.

Zakia delivered a talk on the subject of 'Doing Good Better' at the event, held on Sunday 9th April at Edinburgh Napier University.

In her talk Zakia discussed how we can all do good better - and how our actions as individuals, charities and social enterprises can actually make a big impact on the lives of others. 

Originating from the French city of St Etienne, Zakia has lived in Scotland for nearly a decade during which time she has worked almost exclusively with domestic and international homeless charities. 

In 2016 she founded Invisible (Edinburgh), with the organisation recently celebrating it's first birthday by welcoming a new intake of trainee tour guides to the programme.

To find out more about Zakia and Invisible (Edinburgh), click here.

Invisible Edinburgh Tours

In the first of a series of new posts we’ll be highlighting some of the lovely landmarks, social enterprises and local businesses we pass by during our tours.

This week we’re featuring the wonderful Serenity Café!

Based close to The Scottish Parliament and Dynamic Earth, the Serenity Café is an amazing social enterprise run by people in recovery for people in recovery, and is the only organisation of it’s kind in Scotland.

They serve a fantastic range of food and refreshments including delicious cakes and coffees, but also run daily support activities for people in recovery; including yoga classes, craft sessions and AA meetings.

This lively community café is usually the last stop on the tour, so you can look forward to enjoying a cup of tea or coffee after a nice entertaining jaunt around the city. Even better, as a member of an Invisible (Edinburgh) tour you’ll enjoy a 20% discount on your bill!

The Serenity Café is run with the support of another local charity called ‘Comas’ (Gaelic for ‘ability') who also run the Story Café, based in the Scottish Storytelling Center on the Royal Mile.

Click here to book your place on one of our Edinburgh tours!

Invisible (Edinburgh) goes back to school!

Written on March 28, 2017
Ie Majorca

We’re excited to announce that the Invisible (Edinburgh) programme has branched out into talks and tours for schools.

Following an increased demand for tours and presentations by schools and pupils, Invisible (Edinburgh) will be delivering talks, tours and classes to educational facilities across Scotland.

Our tour guide Sonny recently visited the children at East Craigs Primary School in Edinburgh to talk about his experience of homelessness and his special guided tour route. He answered lots of questions by very interested 10 and 11 year old students and has even been invited back to attend a school assembly!

We would absolutely love more school classes to join us on our Edinburgh tours and so for every class that makes a booking, we have decided to reduce the price of a ticket to just £6 per person.

Remember that our tours can be translated into French and Spanish by one of our volunteers - we recently had the pleasure of welcoming a group of students from Majorca to one of our tours and they all really loved it!

If you are interested in having Invisible (Edinburgh) come to talk at your school or to come along on one of our tours please contact Zakia Moulaoui at or on 07500773709.

Anniversary celebrations ahead!

Written on March 14, 2017

As Invisible (Edinburgh) approaches an important milestone, we’re ready to celebrate!

We can barely believe it's been a whole year since Invisible (Edinburgh) was born, but on April 1st we will be celebrating our first birthday!  

It’s been an incredible first year where so much has been achieved by the organisation and our superb guides, so we’re delighted to be heading into year two as strong as ever.  

Of course, we couldn't have been done any of this without the encouragement and support of our partners, friends and families and as a great big thank you, we’d like to invite you to celebrate with us!  

We have planned a special birthday tour with Biffy and Sonny on Saturday 1st April, starting at 11am at the Grassmarket and finishing at Social Bite on Rose Street for a bit of cake and partying (tea and coffee also provided!). To book your free ticket, please click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Today is International Women’s Day and here at Invisible (Edinburgh) we are doing something a little bit special to celebrate.

To mark the occasion our very own Biffy will be leading a tour that will showcase the many amazing stories of powerful women hailing from Edinburgh, including JK Rowling, Maggie Dickson and Biffy herself.

The hour long tour will take place on Saturday 11th March from 2-3pm and will pass through various places of interest in the city that have been marked by illustrious women and played an important part in Biffy’s life, too.

It’s an important part of the Invisible Edinburgh mission to show support and solidarity to other local community groups, so we’ve decided that the proceeds from Biffy's tour will be used to support a mother and toddler group organised by the Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh.

The association are in desperate need of items to help to group to continue their important work, and in the spirit of the day we are delighted to help.

Zakia Mouloui, Founder of Invisible (Edinburgh) said; “It was important for Biffy and I to show solidarity towards other women, especially on this day. By buying a few simple items for the toddlers group, we can show that support to other women and their daughters.

“We want to highlight how strong and powerful women are, and the tour will do just that!”

To book your place on the tour, please follow this link!

The story behind the stickers!

Written on February 28, 2017

We recently thought up an inventive way to help our tour guides in Edinburgh.

The city is a busy and bustling place with so much going on, so our more popular routes are often very crowded as our guides lead their tours.

In fact, sometimes the streets have been so mobbed with tourists that our guides have been confused as to who was on the tour and who was a random person walking along the street!

So to combat this we needed to think of an easy and effective trick to help our guides spot who is part of the group they are guiding, and the answer was… stickers!

Now, as anyone who has taken a tour with Invisible (Edinburgh) lately will have noticed, everyone gets a little sticker with a picture of their guide on it before each tour begins.

The lovely sticker designs have been superbly illustrated by talented local artist Nicola Boon who does all the artwork Invisible Edinburgh, and we couldn’t be more thankful for her wonderful work.

To find out more about Nicola’s illustrations, please click here.

New guides, new training!

Written on February 22, 2017
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We’re delighted to welcome a new intake of trainee guides who have joined Invisible (Edinburgh) this week!

Four new recruits; Angie, Graham, Lee and Michael have begun their training with the aim of joining our existing team of tour guides in sharing their unique story of Edinburgh with visitors to the city.

Our trainee guides have all connected with Invisible (Edinburgh) through our strong links with social organisations in the city, with successful referrals from Social Bite, Raised Voices, CRISIS and the Grassmarket Community Project.

New recruits will benefit from an exciting development in our training network as Real Talk, a new Edinburgh based social enterprise, join our list of trainers.

Real Talk is a growing initiative that encourages and supports individuals in finding their voice and sharing their narratives through the power of storytelling, all within a safe, warm and engaging environment.

This new collaboration will see Real Talk provide storytelling workshops to our trainees, helping them to plan and structure their guided tours.

We’d also like to thank to our existing training partners who will continue to support us over the coming year. Though CRISIS we are able to provide modules on topics such as self confidence and public speaking whilst all of our guides gain First Aid qualifications with the help of our friends at Aiding Your Way.

These are exciting times at Invisible (Edinburgh) with new faces bringing enthusiasm and new ideas to the organisation. With hushed talk of forthcoming tours based around Leith and the Edinburgh Festival, there will be plenty more to report soon!


In many European cities, tourists can discover hidden streets and stories thanks to guides who have experienced homelessness.

In Berlin, Paris or London, there are tours similar to those of Invisible (Edinburgh) but the true inspiration behind our social enterprise is in Athens!

During one of her travels to the Greek capital, our founder Zakia Moulaoui met the team behind SHEDIA, Greece's only street paper. Distributed in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki since February 2013, it is published every last Wednesday of the month. But as well as selling their magazines, vendors can also take you on a tour of their city, telling you stories of their lives and experiences of it.

It is after going on one of these tours that Zakia decided to start the project back in Scotland, and after contacting the UK based street paper The Big Issue realised the best way to do so was to create a new social enterprise!

Zakia said: "The tours in Athens opened my eyes onto the reality of the country. I wanted to recreate the experience I had had in Greece back in Scotland. It was about having a real conversation and interaction with my guide and I thought that was very powerful. But in Edinburgh, the Big Issue has limited resources so I decided Why not do it myself?

"That's where it all started!"

With the help of many partners, The Big Issue but also CRISIS and of course Shedia, Invisible (Edinburgh) was created.

"The team in Greece has been amazing. Through their advice, friendship and support, we have been able to create something very positive. 

"They have been real role models for us. Our first media interview was actually in SHEDIA with our guide Biffy and for this I will always be thankful" she continues.

Click these links for more information about similar tours in Paris and London.


We are delighted to announce that Invisible (Edinburgh) has become an official partner of Crisis.

As part of this exciting partnership we have already begun to deliver high quality training and support to our team of guides, with the first round of workshops centered around building self-confidence, speaking in public and resolving conflict. 

Our team have also joined some of the Crisis Skylight classes held in Edinburgh and one of our guides, Stewart, has joined their weekly cycling group!

Founded in 1967, Crisis offers practical and creative workshops in a supportive and inspiring environment, together with formal learning opportunities that lead to qualifications and finding work for homeless people. 

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible (Edinburgh) said: "We contacted CRISIS right at the beginning of our journey, and they were on board straight away. 

"They have offered so much support through their tutors and advice. I really hope we can continue to develop a strong relationship and keep working together to improve the lives of our guides."

To find out more about Crisis, follow this link to visit their website.

Safety first with Invisible (Edinburgh)

Written on August 16, 2016

The good news is that all of our Edinburgh tour guides are now fully First Aid qualified!

Our good friends at Aiding Your Way delivered a fantastic day of First Aid training where everyone learnt about accidents and how to cope in case of an emergency.

Aiding Your Way instructors are qualified to teach a range of First Aid courses with particular focus on provides training to allow the homeless to gain workplace skills and accredited qualifications to aid re-entering the workplace

The training was held with the kind hospitality of Braidwood Community Centre, in partnership with Homeless charity CRISIS.


We’re delighted to announce that Invisible (Edinburgh) had been nominated for the 2017 Luxury Travel Awards. 

The Luxury Travel Awards is a highly renowned awards programme created to celebrate excellence across all sectors of the affluent travel and tourism industry. 

Invisible (Edinburgh) has been nominated in the holiday and tour options category, which recognises a wide range of tour operators from large multinational operations to small, independent guides such as ourselves. 

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible Edinburgh said: “We are a new, ambitious and growing organisation, so to be nominated in these awards is a great honour”.

To find out more about the Luxury Travel Awards, click here.

Un Ltd For Social Enterpreneurs

We are delighted to announce that we have received funding from Unltd to develop and market our tours better!

Unltd is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK, offering the largest network of it's kind in the world. UnLtd resources hundreds of individuals each year through its core awards programme.

Unltd CEO Mark Norbury came to Edinburgh and attended one of Biffy's tours, joining her on a tour through the streets of HER Edinburgh and discovering the stories of the city's powerful women from past and present.

Zakia Moulaoui, Invisible (Edinburgh) founder, said " It is great for our guides to know we receive support and that there are people out there who believe in them and what they do!".

Unltd's grant will be used to cover our basic strategic start-up costs and help us to promote the work of the organisation.


Last month our Founder Zakia Moulaoui spoke as a guest speaker at TedXPortobello

At the event, held at the Tribe Porty Youth Theatre in Edinburgh, Zakia called for new perspectives and described her work in changing the lives of those affected by homelessness. She also encouraged the audience to think of the invisible people in our cities and to see our cities and their people in a different light.

Zakia is from St Etienne in France and has been living in Scotland for eight years in which time she has worked with local and international charities, mostly organisations working with homeless people. 

She recently founded our very own Invisible (Edinburgh), a Scottish social enterprise that trains local people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their cities. We offer local and social tours, connecting tourists and locals with places that make the city what it is!

Our aim is to create change around the stigma surrounding homelessness worldwide and bring people together, no matter their backgrounds, stories or problems. 

To watch Zakia's full talk from TedXPortobello, please follow this link!

Welcome to a new beginning!

Written on July 08, 2016

Invisible (Edinburgh) tours have started and you can book your ticket now!

Invisible (Edinburgh) was officially launched on March 31st at the Melting Pot (they have been helping us tremendously along the way) and we are now running regular tours of the city for you lucky people to enjoy!

Three guides are already primed to take you on a tour of THEIR Edinburgh, showing you the famous landmarks of this historic city, but also to tell you about their lives.

As part of our launch Invisible (Edinburgh) was featured in the Daily Record, The Times and STV too!

To book a tour with us today, please follow this link!

Our awards & recognitions

  • Thistle Award
  • Social Enterprise
  • Travel and Hospitality

Supported by

  • Unltd
  • Edinburgh Aiport

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