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The takeaway that gives back – community-focused School Kitchen launches from Yorkshire school

Next month sees the UK launch of School Kitchen, a community-focused initiative which partners with local schools to use their kitchens on weekday evenings and weekends, turning this underutilised asset into a thriving, eco-friendly home delivery takeaway food service, with the school receiving a share of the revenue.

Launching in North Yorkshire on 19th March, School Kitchen will open with a Sri Lankan restaurant, Pirivena, and a Mexican offering, Quetzalcoatl, Thai restaurant named Mae Nam, and Tapas restaurant, Averroes. Customers will be able to mix and match dishes from the different restaurants in each order. The enterprise will operate from the kitchens of Carr Junior School in York, part of the South Bank Multi Academy Trust.

The aim is to offer customers an ethical sustainable alternative to other food delivery models. The socially-conscious food business will prioritise customers, communities, and employees, rather than focusing exclusively on returns for shareholders – it’s the takeaway that gives back.

As well as offering a food delivery service, School Kitchen will be running cooking demonstrations for pupils, as well as providing apprenticeship jobs for school leavers, with the purpose of offering opportunities to the next generation. All of their employees, from chefs to delivery riders, are being paid at least the current living wage of £12ph.

Sustainability is another key aim, with the initiative installing solar panels at partner schools to generate electricity, using bikes or electric mopeds for all deliveries, and only using reusable, recyclable, or compostable, biodegradable packaging.

David Nicholson, Managing Director of School Kitchen, said: “I’d worked in food for many years, although always in retail rather than hospitality. I was increasingly feeling that the big corporations I was used to working for had lost their connection with their customers and the communities they were based in. That’s why I decided to leave and start my own socially-conscious food business which prioritised customers and communities, rather than focusing exclusively on returns for shareholders.

“I set about designing a business which had good working conditions, connection to communities, reduced carbon emissions, and decreased packaging waste, whilst still being financially viable. The result was School Kitchen. We’re so excited to be finally launching in York, with big plans to expand if the appetite – in every sense – is there for our new kind of takeaway.”

Vicki Kerr, Head Teacher at Carr Junior School, said, “We are really looking forward to being part of this exciting new venture. Not only is the food delicious, but it will directly benefit the school and the local community.”

Mark Hassack, Chief Executive, South Bank Multi Academy Trust, added, “We are really impressed by School Kitchen’s innovative concept and strong commitment to sustainability. Not only will they offer support to our schools but the plans for offering apprenticeships shows their strong belief in supporting local communities, which is aligned with our Trust’s values. We couldn’t be more excited to be part of this and we are looking forward to the upcoming launch.”

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For more information contact Danielle Walsh or Jon Perks at Cab Campaign at [email protected] or [email protected] About School Kitchen School Kitchen is a new takeaway food model which aims to support local communities, provide great tasting food from around the world and prioritise sustainability. By partnering with local schools, School Kitchen uses their kitchens when the schools aren’t using them and runs home delivery takeaway restaurants from them. The initiative also runs free cookery demonstrations/classes for pupils, runs an apprenticeship scheme for recent school leavers in the area and ensures all staff (chefs, delivery riders, etc.) are fairly employed, with no zero hours contracts and no commission-only earnings School Kitchen works with local chefs from diverse culinary backgrounds to run multiple restaurants from each school kitchen.  Sustainability is an important part of their work and they are installing solar panels at the schools they work with to cover all the energy usage, only use bicycles and electric mopeds for all deliveries, ensuring all packaging is recyclable, reusable, or compostable and sourcing ingredients from local farmers and suppliers whenever possible.

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