Behind the Scenes
A few years ago I attended a talk about The Sock Mob and felt inspired by what they were doing. I immediately joined the group on meetup.com and am fortunate to have met some truly courageous and inspirational people both as part of the Sock Mob and also the homeless people we have met on our walks. We all have great ambitions for the future of Unseen Tours and Sock Mob Events and I feel very privileged to be involved as a tour guide coach and events organiser.
Before I moved to London 4 years ago I had never really encountered homelessness before. Seeing people out on the streets left me feeling deeply uncomfortable, and so I would do my best to ignore or avoid them. But destiny had other plans for me and 3 months after moving to the big city, I found myself working for a homeless charity. I’ve met some truly amazing and inspiring people who have been, or continue to be homeless Londoners. Unseen Tours has given me an opportunity to strengthen these relationships and develop new skills of my own. I’m immensely proud to be a member of the tribe!
Seven years after I first stepped out on the streets of London with a group of friends to meet with London’s homeless, hear their stories and share some of their time, I’m thrilled and humbled to be a part of Unseen Tours. Coaching our guides and building the vision with them has given my life much meaning and joy. I hope it will do the same for all who walk with us.
After attending the tours in the summer of 2010, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved once they were rolled out permanently that October. I have a very corporate/financial job by day so working with as a coach for the Brick Lane tour in my free time is a real break from my daily life; I’ve met – and learned from – some amazing people and it’s been such a fantastic experience to work together to get a business going. I get very frustrated by people who look down on the homeless and other “vulnerable” people so it’s a tremendous honor (and a real kick) to be part of an organization like Sock Mob Events that tries to change people’s assumptions and open minds.
I’m truly honored to be a part of the Unseen Tours. As one of the coaches for the Temple tour its incredible to have seen the progress that Viv and Mark have made to get the tour ready in a very short period of time. I beam with pride every time that I see them put it on. As the Buddy Co-Ordinator, I ensure that the guides who have requested buddies have a friendly face to go on the tour with them. Its been challenging at times but its has been incredibly rewarding. I wouldn’t change the experience for anything!
I moved to London in 2012 and a friend from home (Australia) sent me a link to Unseen Tours, so I checked it out. I went on Hazel’s tour and loved it! Since then, I’ve been a customer, a buddy, a finance dude and now a coach for London Bridge! It’s very exciting to be part of the tribe, and doing something practical about homelessness.
“Buddies” are volunteers that go along on some of our tours to support the guides. They provide not only a familiar face to welcome to the guide and greet the group but also help ensure that the tours runs smoothly.
With special thanks to Paul, Stephen, Geeta, Andy, Patrick and everyone else how has helped make this venture happen.