RECAP is a resilience and education group, a volunteer-led charitable society for people from Ashhurst and the Pohangina Valley who want to:
- build a stronger sense of community,
- care for the living environment and the local ecology, and
- develop new skills and connections that can help make the region sustainable, resilient, and self-reliant.
Sharon Stevens, one of RECAP’s founders, reflects on her experiences establishing RECAP and PNCET’s role in its establishment, ‘I think if RECAP hadn’t had PNCET to turn to, we would have developed much differently, more like a gardening group than an education group. Our education, and practical work have become very complementary toward our goal of building a community culture that supports sustainable living. PNCET's intervention and support at critical moments have been huge for helping us create a niche where all of our activities are connected and mutually reinforcing.’
‘PNCET has played a critical role in RECAP's development from a very small organisation to one that is able to provide sustainability education on a regular basis. We've received two grants from PNCET. The first PNCET grant enabled us to subsidise costs for a workshop, which showed us that if we could subsidise costs, we could achieve full enrolment and attract a more diverse group of students, which also helped with our social justice aims.’
‘Our second grant was for the development of web-based tools, most notably including an online workshop registration form. This created efficiencies at a key point in our growth which meant we could continue to grow, and not be stalled by our own success. Ironically, if we couldn't automate some of the administration, the high demand for our service would’ve meant we had to scale back our offerings. At this critical point, PNCET again stepped up to help out, and we increased how much education we could offer to our community.
I think we would have had a hard time getting funding elsewhere. When we received the first grant, we didn't have a proven track record, but we were able to meet with PNCET face-to-face and put some good processes in place. When we received the second grant, we had applied for funding elsewhere but had been turned down. In both cases we were able to leverage a little well-timed support into something that enabled growth. We're really grateful for how PNCET's intervention at some critical junctures has helped us develop our current capacity.’
RECAP have grown hugely since their humble beginnings, and now co-ordinate a Permaculture Design Course. They have been instrumental in establishing a community orchard and community gardens in Ashhurst, and they run courses on a diverse range of skills-based topics. They have an influence much beyond the reach of their chosen terrain, with many Palmerston North people travelling to RECAP courses. They are arguably the most successful resilience group in our wider region. To find out more about RECAP, visit: http://recap.org.nz