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."
VIDEO: didi rugby Reading success 'proves the franchise model works'
didi rugby Reading’s double act of Craig Hunter and Donna Clark say their early months as a rapidly-growing franchise proves that the didi model works.
Since launching didi rugby Reading in February 2018, the classes have really captured the imagination of the public and businesses in the local area.
Sessions are currently held across Berkshire in Reading, Ascot and Newbury while partnerships are already up and running with the likes of Aldermaston, Reading and Thatcham rugby clubs.
A formal link has been made with professional club London Irish RFC and a partnership with Eddie Cats has seen classes held in their soft play venues.
Craig says he is delighted by the speed of their progress, the support from didi UK and the positive way in which the franchise has been received within the local community.
“I have been involved with rugby since I was 14 but I was working in recruitment and wanted to do something like this full-time,” he said.
“The support from didi was spot on in the build up to launch and the infrastructure was right too.
“My wife is in the education sector and she saw what we did for her school as a taster session and said there is a huge scope for growth in that early years foundations stage for something like didi rugby.
“So we took the plunge and went for it full-time and we are confident we will continue to grow with the help of Vicky and team didi behind us.
“Our links with local clubs are important and we are trying to help those without big mini sections so they can use their link with us as stepping stone to build their Under-6s.
It proves it works
“At Reading RFC for example, they have already picked up four kids who are now too old for didi rugby for their Under-6s which proves it works. It’s a no-brainer.”
Donna Clark added: “It has been good fun spreading the values of didi rugby through classes, clubs and schools too.
“Our relationship with Vicky and her team at didi has just been like an extension of the rugby family really. They are always there on the end of the phone if we need them.”