Sprout Alkimos Beach

  • Alkimos
  • Alkimos
  • Alkimos
  • Alkimos

Located in the Escarpment Park at Alkimos Beach, Sprout is an excellent example of Local Government, Developers and Social Enterprise working together to deliver community infrastructure early in response to potential community isolation risks. Sprout Ventures were recently awarded a National Social Enterprise Innovation Award by Social Traders, for the Sprout pilot at Alkimos (June 2015).

Description of project

Sprout is a temporary, repurposed shipping container that has been transformed into a portable community activation hub. Sprout Alkimos Beach is a pilot project in community activation and pop up infrastructure that will operate for a period of three years and fill a gap in the delivery of programmed social infrastructure.

The Sprout start up social enterprise Sprout Ventures was established in partnership with Lend Lease and LandCorp who are development partners at the Alkimos Beach master planned community. The Sprout Alkimos Beach concept has become a reality due to the support and forward thinking City Growth (Urban Planning) and Community Development teams at the City of Wanneroo. 

Through an event space, café, co-working desks and on-line portal, Sprout aims to provide a space for the organic formation of the community’s identity and creation of real ‘place’. Sprout also caters to a range of functions from screening outdoor movies to providing a space for residents to practice yoga and host exhibitions. 

In order to support local groups and clubs, Sprout has set up a Seedling Fund. This fund facilitates a community governance model which transfers ownership of development activities to the community itself. It was established to create a culture of contribution, and getting local people involved. Ten cents in every one dollar from every coffee sold goes towards community led and decided activities, equipment or events. A minimum of $1500 per quarter is available to the community. There are many amazing groups and individuals working hard to better the community. The Seedling Fund recognises this great work, and gives back with the purchase of much needed items for community clubs, groups, associations, or even individuals who have a great idea. 

Sprout is a unique offering that will be the only place for early community interactions and connections within the Alkimos Beach development ahead of formal social infrastructure being constructed. Community infrastructure in growth areas such as this is typically delivered based on threshold catchments. In the case of Alkimos Beach, the permanent community infrastructure is programmed for delivery in seven years’ time.

Project team
  • City of Wanneroo
  • Sprout Ventures
  • Lendlease
  • Landcorp

In addition to creating and enhancing the community’s sense of place and connections, Sprout has a number of other health, economic, environmental, social and use benefits.

Health value

The Sprout is located within a 400 metre walkable catchment of the first stage of the development, and 800m of the majority of the development, making it easily accessible by walking.

From a formal recreation perspective, Sprout has attracted local fitness group providers who are setting up in the adjacent park to deliver active healthy living objectives, and then enjoy the amenity provided by Sprout post workout enabling connections and friendships to be formed. It has also attracted multiple community groups’ including the re-location of a FiFo support group to Alkimos Beach, who have regular meet-ups at Sprout as part of their support network. 

Economic value

The Sprout has been vital to supporting small and home based businesses as well as encouraging innovation and collaboration, particularly in the social business space. Regular small business services are provided by partners North West Metropolitan Small Business Centre, Wanneroo Business Association, and through an Alkimos Beach initiative “Entrepreneur+ Series”; all of which have been well-supported by new and emerging businesses in Alkimos and the northern corridor.

The Seedling Fund is a very important aspect of the Alkimos Beach Sprout. The Seedling Fund is a community-led grant initiative that aims to promote and enable local groups, events, projects and ideas. It does this via a process similar to crowd funding, whereby the community votes for which projects get more money allocated. Money is also collected form the integrated café where 10 cents in every $1 from every coffee sold goes towards community led and decided activities, equipment or events. The more people who support the Sprout,  the more it supports the community. The grants base amount is then supplemented by the Alkimos Beach project partners. A minimum of $1500 per month is available to the community. Following voting on nominated activities, the fund purchases items for the community group or club to use to benefit the Alkimos community.  In the first six months of operation of the Sprout over $13,000 was raised for community groups to access via the Seedling Fund.

Examples of how the Seedling Funds are being used include: 

- North Coastal Women’s Shed used the Seedling Fund to purchase a set of Ukuleles and badge makers; they now run regular events and classes for the community including monthly Ukelele club. 

- St James Kindergarten are using the Seedling Fund to purchase a water tank and equipment to build a mud café and eco garden to advance environmental education with kindergarten children.

- North Coast Rugby Club used the Seedling Fund to support club development activities and establish a junior competition at Alkimos in partnership with Rugby WA and local schools.

- The Northern Beaches Cycling Club applied for the funds to run a cycling participation event.

Environmental value

Sprout is constructed from 80% recycled materials and built to 5 star energy efficiency. While the main component of the  is a recycled shipping container, the architectural team (Whisperin’ Smith) also sourced native recycled WA timbers, upcycled furniture and sourced local tradespeople to put it all together. 

Social value

Sprout gives residents a place to call their own, establish their own sense of place and identity in the very beginning of a new housing development.  It is a little place for a little while, built as a three year pilot ahead of residents moving in to fill the gap in timing of delivery for programmed social infrastructure, and create early opportunities for connection and service delivery.

During these early years, Sprout aims to enable the community to grow Social Capital - knowing your neighbours, giving back to your community, trusting each other and being supported by your community. The café and community events attract people to the venue and over time, people form new friendships, get involved in local clubs or associations, or even bring friends and family into the  to join in the network. 

In the first six months of operation of the Sprout over 270 people have attended 19 community events.  As an important metric of social impact, 73% (14) of these were local, community led activities / events enabled as a result of the Sprout being provided at Alkimos Beach. Through the seedling fund, Sprout has raised over $13,000 for community groups within the first six months. 

The City of Wanneroo continue to be huge supporters and advocates of the Sprout, delivering services and activities including youth, community development, volunteer  and school holiday programs at the Sprout.  Without this facility, these services would not be available locally to the community.

Use value

Sprout is not only a temporary community facility; it can also be used to hire out areas for a variety of uses from co working, to meeting space, to functions, service delivery and social get togethers and presentations.

Sprout is built around flexible design principles.  All internal furniture is movable (on wheels) enabling re-configuration of space depending on need and participant numbers.  The outdoor space can be closed off for activities while the café can continue to serve coffee via an external hatch (providing ongoing opportunities to support the Seedling Fund).

Type of project
Scale of project
Individual Site