Skip to main content

Nourishing Connections: Discovering Community Dining by Sharing Food and Stories

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


In our local community, we identified a need for fostering stronger connections among students, parents, and educators through shared meals. Inspired by personal experiences and observing the disconnect in our fast-paced world, we realised the power of communal dining in nurturing relationships and building a sense of belonging.

CanTeam aims to establish regular community dining events at schools, where students, parents, and the community members can come together to enjoy nutritious meals and engage in meaningful conversations. We organised dinners, themed the events and encouraged participation and created a vibrant dining culture within our school community.

By providing opportunities for shared meals, we hope to not only address food insecurity but to promote social interaction, cultural exchange, and holistic well-being among all members of our school community. Through this initiative, we strengthened new bonds, fostered empathy, and created a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for everyone involved.

My CanTeam journey:

Initially, I wasn’t so sure about participating in this service, I was nervous, dubious and even scared to even meet new people. However, I was determined to get over these negative thoughts and go and negate imposter syndrome.

I was able to network with various key individuals like Caitlin Ross , Chris Steele Kendrick Michael Clark and many other guests.  My organisational skills have been developed through setting up the room, also my public speaking skills have enhanced through giving a speech before the meal.

The biggest challenge I see is the idea of eating food simply because it’s a need, what needs to be done is to respect and enjoy the food in a community manner or even a family dinner orientation because in the modern society food is just gulped up along side a screen that lures you away from enjoying the delicacies.  To counter the issue people including myself should build a habit of no screens at the table as they say in the movies and try eat as a family or with a group of people.

My message for others considering getting involved:

There shouldn’t be a doubt on your mind whether or not to get involved in CanTeam, if you develop this sense of urgency that you need to help at a young age, it will carry on forth in adulthood. Even the most simple gestures like organising a setting will bring benefit to you and the community.

SO I say when the opportunity arises sign up NOW, don’t be afraid to explore beyond your parameters.

Be the one to stand out for your acts of kindness and concern for the community otherwise you will just be like everyone else.

Final Thoughts:

It was above and beyond what I had expected.


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. 

Leave a Reply