We are a group of passionate and dedicated people determined to get children active and teach them key life skills while they are having fun and gaining confidence in a safe environment.
Our 40-minute classes run in three age groups from 18 months up to six years of age and we build links with local clubs to encourage our didi kids' rugby experience to continue when they turn seven.
Parents and carers are a big part of what we do and we encourage their involvement during class sessions at the right time. We are not strict. We want didi kids to be happy and comfortable.
We firmly believe that encouraging children to get active at a young age will not only help them stay healthy but will increase their confidence and self-esteem as well as help interaction and engagement with other children.
didi rugby is a great stepping stone into team sports further down the line because we teach the values of respect, sharing and team spirit.
The business was conceived by former England Women's Rugby international, Vicky Macqueen, herself a mother of two young children. When she contracted a potentially life-threatening infection in 2013, doctors told her that her strong health and fitness levels saved her.
Since then, didi rugby has been a personal crusade to spread the benefits of health, fitness and activity to as many children and parents as she can.
Vicky's drive has helped attract numerous high-profile people from the sport of rugby and beyond to become didi ambassadors with the likes of Womens' World Cup winners Emily Scarratt and Katy Daley-Maclean, along with coaches from the men's game like Graham Rowntree and Geordan Murphy getting involved.
didi rugby is a franchise business which treats our teams up and down the country as one big family sharing training, ideas and best practice.
All of our classes offer free taster classes so parents and carers can see if their child enjoys what we have to offer.
We are very proud of the word-of-mouth recommendations we receive and here are just a few of the kind comments that have been sent our way by parents.
"It's a good form of exercise for them and incorporates a lot of games - that is why they enjoy it so much."
"It's not strict and they know they are always coming to have fun."
"It's not always about the game of rugby, it's about learning how to be with other children and that is really good for them."
"Their confidence has really grown. Not just in terms of their sporting abilities but for them as little people and how they interact with others."
didi rugby Reading owner Craig Hunter has been so struck by the support he has received since starting the business, he has turned it into a full-time franchise.
Craig took the decision after he and fellow coach Donna Clark were struggling to take advantage of new opportunities to grow their didi business because they simply didn’t have the time to do so.
Just three months into their didi franchise and Craig has become a full-time business owner to make sure those opportunities don’t slip by.
“It all started with a great conversation I had with Vicky Macqueen (didi owner) and has turned into a full-time business now,” he said.
“It has been really enjoyable since we started but it had got to the stage where I was struggling to fit everything into three days a week and Donna was doing too much too.
“We had invested time and energy into didi rugby but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities it was creating because we didn’t have the extra time due to other commitments.
“I thought ‘enough was enough’ and I was brave enough to make the jump!
“We have three or four coaches involved and me and Donna both coach too so we have been splitting what we do. We have been going into different clubs and schools since we started and there is plenty of other interest out there too.”
As well as taking didi rugby into schools around the area, Craig and Donna are currently hosting classes in Reading RFC on Friday and Saturday, Aldermaston RFC on Saturday and Woodford Park Leisure Centre on Monday.
“Rugby clubs in the Berkshire area are buying into it one by one and we have received some great support,” added Craig.
“I have not been surprised it has gone so well but I have been surprised at how quickly it has grown. Vicky is a big driving force behind it and she has the same ethos as we do. It’s all about engagement and there is certainly plenty of that about.
“We have lots of fun running the business and the kids enjoy seeing me melt when we are running around at classes. I am losing weight with every week that goes by!
“When adults and parents they see the kids smiling, they soon get it. Those smiles are infectious. Parents are engaged too and we make sure they are involved.
“It’s a business where I can spread good values, see kids having fun and do it within a framework that makes classes affordable to parents.”
Vicky said that Craig and Donna’s success was reflective of their hard work and was delighted to see their franchise thriving.
“It is great to see a franchise that began as part-time grow into something that is now a full-time business,” she said.
“Craig and Donna have put in a huge amount of work to make sure didi rugby Reading has grown so quickly and been supported so well by parents, schools, clubs and businesses.
“They have a they have a great team didi ethic at Reading and have the same mindset and positive values at heart.
“I am confident with their drive and commitment, that growth will continue and more and more children and parents will begin to enjoy didi rugby classes.
“Like all of our franchises, whether they be part-time or full-time, they can rely on the full support of the didi rugby network and fellow franchise holders up and down the country."
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