New city tours led by the homeless

Secret city tours of Bath led by the people who know it best

The homeless; how often do we walk past them in the street? Well, now we could be walking with them as they lead us round the city of Bath, UK, in a new social project.

New city tours led by the homeless will show travellers all the city's main tourist attractions - which is famous for its Roman Baths and Georgian architecture - but will also give an insight into the city's homeless problem.

The initiative is the brainchild of Dr Luke Tregidgo, a former PhD student at the University of Bath.

"We've got a city that people love to walk around," Dr Tregidgo told the BBC.

"We've got year-round tourism and some fantastic sites, but also a massive problem with homelessness, so why not leverage the city's greatest asset - its tourists - to solve one of its biggest social problems?"

"Most people come to Bath to see the famous sites, the Crescent, the Roman Baths, the Abbey, so we show them those, but we will also show them hidden places that you wouldn't find on any other tour, and then also a bit about what it is like experiencing being homeless."

New city tours led by the homeless

The Secret City Tours website promises "the most entertaining guided walking tours of Bath, combining the city's most popular destinations with hidden gems and undiscovered stories that you won't find anywhere else."

According to the Bath Chronicle, the Big Issue was involved in recruiting guides for the tour, while the Natural Theatre Company helped train them.

Alex Kirzsan was the first guide to lead a tour, earlier this week. The 46-year-old, who has previously spent three years on the streets and now lives in a hostel, said: "I bit their hand off when this opportunity came... I want it to be a success.

"I want to make something of myself, which is impossible when you live in a doorway."

What do you think of this initiative? Would you go on a guided tour led by the homeless? As ever, post your comments below.