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."
That was 41 years ago. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to play for Reading RFC from Under-15s through to Colts and 1st XV level and have also represented Berkshire at Colts level too.
I retired from playing due to injury but I continued my connection and have been part of running the club in many capacities, mostly in a voluntary capacity.
I have had the privilege of being club chairman for five years and over the last three years, I have held the post of youth chairman; this most recent role is something I have really enjoyed; watching the young future players learning to develop and love the sport.
Over this time I have witnessed how rugby and its core values, TREDS – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship - have literally changed lives and created life-long friendships, not only at Reading but across the world. My recent trip to New Zealand to watch the British & Irish Lions reinforced this!
At Reading RFC, we provide many variations of the game for boys, girls, men and women – the latter through a highly successful girls section, which is growing all the time.
Over the last few years, we have added Walking Rugby, and currently I am involved in developing Berkshire Banshees Wheelchair Rugby Club, for the county of Berkshire and surrounding areas.
Like many clubs, we provide youth rugby from the age of Under-6, however one area we have not managed to cater for is the Under-5s - until now that is.
Having been introduced to Vicky Macqueen and didi Rugby, I firmly believe what she is offering is an excellent developmental programme for children from 18 months through, until they start at Under-6s or Under-7s at club rugby.
I am delighted to announce that didi Rugby is coming to Reading and will be launched in February 2018, at Reading RFC and the surrounding areas. The aim is to offer educational, developmental and fun sessions to as many young children (boys and girls) as possible, to help start their love of sport and activity.
This is open to all children from 18 months; you don’t need to be from a rugby family and may know nothing about the sport, but if you are looking for something to engage and excite your children from an early age, why not let them have a go and have a little taste of the sport we love so much?
We invited Geraldine Ross - Head of Schools Westwood Farm Schools Federation - to let us know what she thought of a taster session we held at a school recently.
She said: "We had a taster session of didi Rugby at our school with Vicky and Craig recently. Although we already had rugby sessions with our older children we were a little unsure how it would work for our 4 and 5-year-olds in our Nursery and Foundation classes but we were reassured in a very short time.
"Right from the start, the children were engaged and enthused; they got to have their own tiny rugby ball and learn how to hold, throw and kick it whilst learning about their own space and others around them.
"The sessions are really tailored to the youngest children and the coaches managed their needs exceptionally well - even those children with specific special needs.
"This is something that is really different as there isn't much out there like this - particularly aimed at the youngest children in this way. We have already signed up to regular sessions and are very excited!"