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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 11, 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."

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

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