From Emily at Leeds Beckett – for more info, or to give feedback, please email [email protected]
We are interested in working with local refugees, students and various community groups in the area to set up guided tours in Leeds which would be refugee-led.
This concept is something which has been put into practice before by the social enterprise ‘Unseen Tours’, where representatives from the homeless, ex-homeless and vulnerably housed community lead guided tours around various parts of London. They are very successful, and as someone who has been on one of the tours myself, I can say that it was an inspiration to hear a different perspective of London, from a community who do not always have a voice. You can check out Unseen Tours here: http://sockmobevents.org.uk/
The project in Leeds would involve pairing up a trained refugee guide with a local volunteer, to offer a guided tour of Leeds consisting of stories from both guides’ perspectives. It would be a ‘compare and contrast’ tour; a way of sharing stories and different narratives, celebrating the multiculturalism that exists in Leeds and fostering cultural exchange. The ultimate aim is that the refugee tour guides receive 100% of money received for the tours, providing a source of income for refugees as well as other non-financial benefits such as training, skills acquisition, confidence building etc.
We hope to work closely with the local refugee community, who we’d like to be fully involved in the planning process, and input significantly into the tour content. To do this, we would like to set up a steering group of representatives from various refugee organisations, and local refugees, with a view to holding the first steering group meeting at the end of November/start of December.
I am happy to meet up with anyone interested in this project in the next couple of weeks, as I’d love to hear initial thoughts!