We started Global Footstepping in 1984 when one of our founder members, Mr Dennis Mitchell, ventured to Kisumu in Kenya. His visit began a new friendship link between Cheltenham and Kisumu and the links between these two vastly different communities are still flourishing today.
Our network gradually extended as we formed links with Sochi in Russia, Gottingen in Poland and Torun in Poland. Global Footsteps made it possible for ordinary people to meet face to face and learn about each other’s cultures. We have always encouraged a relationship of reciprocity, with new Global Footsteps members opening their homes to new friends before being invited back to stay with their new friends in their homes.
International ‘Footstep’ conferences became a real feature of our work from the 1990′s onwards. These conferences have brought in people from all over the world and have taken the charity right across Europe, into Africa and over to the Caribbean. At the last count the total number of nationalities represented at our conferences is 17. The conferences have focused on specific issues such as ‘tourism’ or ‘food’ or ‘peace’ and have been very effective at introducing people from vastly different cultures to each other. For many, it is the first time they have met people from different cultures, the impacts on inter-cultural understanding are significant.
Global Footsteps is core programme of The Rendezvous Society and has been based in Cheltenham, UK, at its 16 Portland Street premises since it began. The ‘Rendezvous’ shop and cafe has always been a hub for those working on environmental and development issues. Several charity and NGO organisations can trace their origins to ‘Rendezvous’, it has been and continues to be a vital physical presence for progressive initiatives in the Cheltenham community.