Secret Street Tours

February 27, 2019

In your own words, tell us about your project.
We are a nonprofit social enterprise that trains those affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their neighbourhoods, empowering them with skills and a platform to tell their story.

In doing so, we offer the public an accessible and human channel to engage with the issue of homelessness, whilst giving a voice to a community that is so often talked about, rather than listened to.

Our training focuses on developing the confidence of our guides through workshops on public speaking and customer service.

Each of our tours is unique and is developed in partnership with our guides to reflect their passions and experiences.

We hope to welcome you on a Secret Street Tour soon.

You can book your place here.
Why did you do this work?
Our founder, Tom Austin, first came across the concept of homeless walking tours in Vienna. There, he heard first hand the incredible impact the tour had in building confidence and providing a sense of purpose and enjoyment for the guide.

We were inspired to bring the idea to Dublin and determined to empower our guides on their journey to independent living. Partnering with them to develop the skills they need to pursue the jobs they want.

We are equally determined to promote awareness of the issue of homelessness and provide an accessible channel for the public to become more engaged with this critical social issue.
What was the impact or outcome of your project?
Our guides develop into excellent public speakers who control their own narrative. Our first guide and co-founder, Derek McGuire, recently shared his story on stage, to a room of over 100 people. Something he couldn't have imagined doing before.

Our guides develop the skills they need for the careers they want. As a startup, we're uniquely placed to provide real-world experience in the running of a business. From sales to marketing, from service to technology, we partner with our guides to build relevant skills and experience.

As well as providing an income, our revenue model all0ws our guides to save towards long term goals that they decide on (examples include rental deposits and educational courses).

We change perceptions. We've welcome over 250 people on our tours so far and we ask them all two simple questions:

Do you feel more aware and engaged on the issue of homelessness? - 92% said yes*

Have your perceptions of homelessness changed? - 84% said yes*

*As of 26/02/19
Do you have any tips or advice for similar projects?
Start with the why. As a social enterprise, you are bound to face numerous setbacks and challenges. At those times it's important to focus on your mission and keep moving forward, however small the steps may be.
Which Sustainable Development Goals does your work link to?
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Location of Project
Contact Person
Tom Austin
Email Address
Contact Number