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Beyond Meals: How CanTeam Changed My Perspective

Blog written by Rayan, student volunteer and a member of the CanTeam Crew at Ark Burlington Danes Academy


CanTeam, our school’s community-driven dining initiative, captivated me from the moment I learned about it through school posters. What began as a curiosity about volunteering soon blossomed into a meaningful journey, shaping my understanding of service and community engagement. Being the school ambassador unexpectedly led me to become a CanTeam volunteer. Despite initial uncertainty, I eagerly embraced the opportunity. From decorating the canteen to delivering welcome speeches, each task strengthened my connection to the community. What inspired me was a heartfelt note from a parent praising our efforts served as a poignant reminder of the impact of our actions. It underscored the importance of fostering connections beyond the classroom and highlighted the transformative power of community involvement.

My CanTeam journey:

Through my involvement with CanTeam, I have honed various skills that have enriched my personal and professional growth. Giving speeches has become second nature to me, as I confidently address the community during CanTeam gatherings. Additionally, my teamwork and communication abilities have flourished as I collaborate with fellow volunteers to ensure the smooth operation of the program.

Moreover, my experience with CanTeam has been a journey of self-discovery. I have a newfound passion for volunteering, realizing the profound impact that small acts of kindness can have on individuals and communities alike. It has reaffirmed my belief that even the smallest efforts can contribute to positive change in the world.

However, my biggest challenge lies in overcoming my hesitations and seizing opportunities when they come. CanTeam has taught me that the regret of missing out on meaningful experiences far outweighs the fear of failure or uncertainty. Moving forward, I am committed to embracing opportunities wholeheartedly, knowing that growth and fulfillment lie on the other side of my comfort zone. With determination and perseverance, I am confident that I can overcome this challenge and continue to make a difference through my involvement with CanTeam.

My message for others considering getting involved:

As I look ahead, my aspirations include attending university and pursuing a career as a barrister. Reflecting on my experience with CanTeam, I wholeheartedly recommend other young people to get involved. Don’t let fear hold you back from trying new things. CanTeam has shown me the power of stepping out of my comfort zone and making a difference. Embrace opportunities like CanTeam, challenge yourself, and never let fear of failure deter you from reaching your goals.

Final Thoughts:

CanTeam ignited my passion for service, fostering unforgettable growth.


CanTeam is an after school social dining initiative co-designed with young people that encourages students and their families to enjoy nutritious, delicious and diverse foods together.

Launched by Future Foundations in June 2023, CanTeam aims to embed a transformative food culture within schools, enabling young people to learn and thrive.

Over the first 6 months of the initiative CanTeam was funded and supported by the Big Change Big Education Challenge to develop the concept, consult beneficiaries and test the idea. 

In partnership with Ark, Future Foundations delivered an extended pilot of CanTeam at two Ark schools for 7 weeks funded by the Raheem Stirling Foundation and Reuben Foundation.

The above blog was written by a student volunteer at Ark Burlington Danes Academy.

We are excited to continue developing CanTeam and the impact we can have on the health and wellbeing of young people and their families throughout the UK.  

BIG NEWS – CanTeam, is a winner of the Big Education Challenge 

Future Foundations, the organisation behind CanTeam, has been awarded £225,000 to develop and pilot at scale the idea. The £1m prize fund is the first of its kind run by education charity Big Change and was set up to identify, support and reward bold ideas with the potential to transform education and learning in the UK.  Click here to find out more.

Find out more:

  • Read an article published by Foodprint written by a journalist who visited CanTeam at Ark Burlington Danes here
  • Read about the Challenge here
  • Read about CanTeam, our BIG idea for change here

Get in touch, if you think you can help…

We are looking for schools and partners who share our vision and can help us pilot CanTeam at scale. 

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