I met Kate approx 1990 thanks to our daughters’ friendship. We were both interested in Agenda 21 and as Kate had been working on The Bowly (Bowling Green Community Group) and I had just been on a Permaculture course our heads were full of strategies for creating an equal and sustainable world.
For the next 30 years Kate was a great inspiration and support for me on the local and global issues and as a wonderful friend.
We started with Falmouth LETS in 1993 with a clothes swap at Kate’s house in Marlborough Road. A core team developed and as Falmouth LETS covered the Local aspect of Agenda 21 we set up Flag21 (Falmouth Local Agenda 21) to explore the challenges of the Global issues and the Falmouth Green Centre for the Environmental issues.
With the aim of developing our skills Kate and I did the Management of Community Groups course: our working project being to establish a Community Centre at Gyllyng Hall in Falmouth.
To add to our portfolio and underpin our passion for ‘emancipating’ education’ we undertook the Plymouth University Cert Ed. (Certificate in Education Adult teaching), focussing on Community Education. In 1997 Kate reached even further into politics applying for places on local Falmouth Town Council and further afield on South West Co-operative Council.
We shared all family celebrations and personal losses which continued even after Kate left Falmouth in 2008 to ”travel the world”.
Kate was a word witch. Using her wisdom and sharp analysis she would get to the heart of an issue and through her acerbic tongue she would keep meetings on track.
In Kate’s own words: “Live lightly on this world as we only have the one. Stop over producing and stop making people live such hard lives, just to earn a crust. We are aiming for right livelihoods and creative solutions. Keep it local and simple; appropriate and as gentle as can be.”
Some of the many projects Kate was involved with
The Bowly: Bowling Green local community project for playground and traffic calming.
Falmouth LETS: Trading scheme and skill share.
FLAG21: Falmouth Local Agenda 21: Working together for a just and sustainable future.
Falmouth Green Centre: Environmental group and skill centre.
The Meridian Project: Local Community hubs and centres.
Urbane Guerrillas: Acts of Random Kindness:
Gyllyng Hall for All. Project to use old Quaker Hall as community centre
Falwheels: Informal community Car Share Scheme.
Falmouth Town Team: BT Better Towns
Falmouth Residents Association
Community Energy Plus
BTCV : British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
FLI: Falmouth Living Initiative
WEA Courses/EZONE/21st Century Living and Learning
Local and National Co-operatives.
Town Centre Forum:
FalmouthOne: Embryonic Community Development Trust.
A Peoples Survey Falmouth
Last Rights: encouraging and supporting last human rights and rites
Ecogenie: Environmental Cleaning Workers Co-op.
Shared Power: local group activities.
Submission for Woman’s Hour Power List October 2020
words by Viv, Rob and Lorely
Kate Ormrod: 1949 to 11th Sept 2020 : Campaigner
A passionate and fearless woman who dedicated her life to people and the planet. Kate’s main concern was for justice and fairness hence her work on both mainstream and radical community initiatives and co-operatives to create opportunities for people to change their lives and their environment.
For over 30 years in the SW Kate was pivotal in furthering social and environmental issues as summarized by Agenda 21 for ‘a just and sustainable future’.
Practical and innovative strategies for Community and Culture, Education, Energy, Environment, Transport, Partnership, Creativity, Food, Building, Health and Wellbeing. Waste and Reuse.
We wish Kate to be remembered as a pioneer, fostering so many UK and local community projects with her spirit of joy, community, cooperation, wit and wisdom. A true exponent of “kitchen table democracy”
Summary on Co-op activities:
Kate was a campaigner for decades for a more democratic, collaborative way of living, trading and working. A co-operator to her core, she served on the Co-operative Group Members’ committee whose task was to help set social policy on behalf of the membership, and the Regional Board where her commitment and contribution was respected by all who knew her.
As the largest Co-operative organisation in the world, keeping true to its guiding principles and acting in a truly democratic way is not always easy, but Kate would never be reticent to call into question anything which didn’t measure up to those values and principles, expressing her views but always in a measured, confident way.
Later, she Chaired the regional organisation Co-operatives South West for a number of years, which worked to raise the profile of all local co-ops, large and small, from credit unions to farmers’ collectives, co-housing groups to food co-ops and community shops and pubs. This was very much Kate’s forte. She believed in people working together to achieve common goals.
Kate felt strongly that global problems could largely be solved by individual and local community action – whether it was campaigning against environmental pollution, or for social justice, poverty reduction and women’s rights.
Despite increasing ill-health she never stopped challenging the status quo where she believed it to be failing humanity and nature. Her dedication, enthusiasm and zest for life will be missed enormously by all who knew her.
Sadly Kate has very recently died after many years enduring COPD
Rob has also posted a tribute to Kate on letsf.org.uk, there is a tribute to her on Transition Falmouth’s website, and Kate’s family have created a wonderful tribute site at kateormrod.muchloved.com where all can share their memories.