At Invisible Cities we don’t believe in labels or stereotypes. We want to show that everyone has great potential, a fact reflected in our tour guides.
Each of our talented tour guides have experience of homelessness or social disadvantage. They have seen their cities from many more angles than the average tour guide can offer, be it the famous landmarks or the social enterprises that make this great city what it is. Meet the team below:
Hi, my name is Sonny! Thank you for showing interest in my tour and my story. I am very proud to be part of the team at Invisible (Edinburgh) as this is a city I was homeless in a few years ago and so I know parts of Edinburgh you probably don’t.
My tour is based on Crimes and Punishment as I have experienced prison myself (though for minor crimes) and Edinburgh is full of stories of murders, gangsters and prisoners!
A few years ago, my life took a bad turn and I was homeless on the streets of Edinburgh. My girlfriend (Biffy-another tour guide at Invisible Edinburgh) and I were addicted to Heroin but we are now both clean and very much looking forward to what the future is bringing. Today I also work with Social Bite, a chain of sandwich shop with a difference. 1in 4 members of staff come from a homelessness background and we give out a lot of food and money back to charity.
I look forward to seeing you in my tour, I promise we will have fun and we will see a side of the capital that will amaze you! Love, Sonny
Hi, I'm Angus, I'd like to take you on a tour through the centuries down the Royal Mile. Edinburgh started as a huddle of huts round a stockade, through mediaeval high rise living, extensive Victorian clearance, but also, luckily, several modern examples of preservation.
I've experienced homelessness in London and Edinburgh since health problems brought most of my previous career paths, including; gravedigging, kitchen portering, combat engineering, forestry and fencing, building new stuff and, best of all, knocking down old stuff to an unwelcome and creaky end. I was told about Invisible Cities by the staff at Big Issue a couple of years ago. Not a highbrow architectural tour, but a great opportunity for me to share my passion for history and mixed opinions about our Scottish town planners. My tour lasts an hour and is around 99% downhill. Okay, I'll admit I failed maths at school so that's a guess.
Hi my name is Gayle and I am Edinburgh's newest guide! I have decided to take on the Women of Edinburgh Tour but doing it my own way! I felt there was not enough representation of women in the city overall and I love history and the old town!
I would like to welcome you on to my tour.
Hi, I am Angie and I am your new tour guide in Glasgow. I have trained for three months to improve my confidence and develop my tour. My favourite thing to do in Glasgow is to explore the coffee shops! There are so many lovely ones. My tour is about The People of Glasgow as I think it is the most important thing about the city.
I love pets and have 6 fish tanks and a cat, called Boss. He is black and white and looks like he is wearing a tuxedo. He definitely keeps an eye on them and isnt called Boss for nothing!
I look forward to be meeting you soon in my city and start teaching you how to speak Glasgwegian- beware I have a strong accent!
Hi, my name is Andy and I’m from Wigan! After experiencing homelessness, albeit brief, I got back on my feet and have had some great opportunities. I see this as a way to pass on my experiences of bad times and good times.
I was introduced to the Manchester nightlife in 1985. I immediately fell in love with Manchester from the beginning - being into rock music I have always felt at home in the relaxed atmosphere, no adversity just a welcoming and open culture.
I’d like to take you on a tour of some happy memories from my time visiting Manchester’s nightlife. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I researched the path well-trodden by my friends and I years ago, only to discover the fascinating history of each venue or pub. I was not aware of the historical significance of all my old drinking spots! My tour will elaborate on the eclectic history of Manchester and some personal memories of these landmarks.
I would like to add that although the tour mentions drinking, there is no drinking whilst on tour. I hope that this insight will draw attention to the links between alcoholism and homelessness. The stops on my tour will help spread awareness of the simultaneous link between alcoholism being a ‘cause of’ and ‘caused by’ homelessness
I am also a member of an organisation called Streetwise Opera - a performance group for people who have experienced homelessness. I have done some very interesting performances, both weird and wonderful, that I point out on the tour.
I am Nic. Invisible (Manchester)’s Music Man. I moved to Manchester when I was 6, and have been a true Mancunian since. I am a nice guy that likes music and taking long walks, so it all comes together - it makes sense for me to be a tour guide. I was surrounded by music from a young age as my parents always immersed me in oldies songs and I play a bit of music too. I was in my 20s during the 1990s - an amazing time to experience music. It was pretty cool so it’s not a surprise I am so big into music.
I got involved with Back On Track for a couple of years, including music classes and playing guitars. Then I heard about Invisible (Manchester) and the rest is history.
I think music is more important than people give it credit for. It’s always in the background and, for a lot of us, it is the soundtrack to our lives. Ever since an early age, I was super adventurous and willing to listen to all types of music, one aspect of my life in which I was fearless is my music listening habits - I would listen to everything.
I consider Manchester to be my home, there are great people here and I love the vibe of living in the North. I don’t mind the rain if the people are warmhearted. It is just a cool place to live. It has so much to give. And so do I. I feel I have the city in me and I look forward to sharing it with you.
Hi I’m Stephen!
I moved to Manchester with my parents, from Northern Ireland, when I was 3 years old. By the age of 10 years old, I had run away from my foster parents, school and my life. No one could keep track of me and I never knew why until I became an adult. I realised I wanted to support the homeless community, which I was a big part of. Every week, I went out with the Manchester Homeless Group and their evening reach out team and started working with Lifeshare. It was like giving something back to myself. I always wondered how I would have felt seeing the younger me out on the streets. As a young child I saw the city centre as my playground, Manchester and homelessness has always been a big part of me.
All the places where I was living when I was on the streets fascinated me. When I joined Invisible (Manchester) I realised these buildings and places were built into me, just like they were built into the city. Manchester has been through a lot, just like myself. I want to give back to the city that wrapped its arms around me - I don’t know what I’d do without it. I have never met a community like the Mancunians, the people of this city are brave and kind.
My tour will take you around the places of Manchester that are the parts of my life, you will see how the city has grown and - when I tell you my tales - you will see that I have too.
Say hello to Gemma who is a transgender woman, who found herself sleeping rough and living in hostels following the sudden unexpected death of her landlady. She is a passionate railway enthusiast and her tour explores how the railway has shaped and transformed the city.
Vicki is passionate about the history Guy Fawkes and first found out about this part of history in 2009, and her passion is one of the reasons that she moved to York.
She interweaves her own personal journey of being diagnosed with stage 4b cancer, treatment, and remission, with the story of his life.
Let us introduce you to Miles, the newest recruit of Invisible (York)!
Miles is a father of two who combines his own life as a former banker with his personal experience of homelessness and recovery journey from addiction to alcohol, to uncover layers of local history that highlight how York’s Health and Wealth has been continually shaped.