didi sports to be piloted in educational settings and schools

The didi sport logo

Hinckley and Reading have been chosen as the first two areas for a pilot scheme which is set to see didi rugby provide an expanded offering to schools.

Starting in September, educational settings including nurseries and pre-schools will be able to book a didi sports session.

The didi sport logo

This will see classes receive a varied sports programme throughout each term which will include sports like: rugby, cricket, basketball and dodgeball.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said she had listened to numerous requests from schools for this sort of programme.

School or nursery

“The success of didi rugby over the past two years has put us in a strong position to develop didi sports sessions,” she said.

“My area of Hinckley and the amazing team in Reading are very excited to start delivering this.

“Every school or nursery which invites us in can be confident they will be getting a very high quality delivery from a didi sports class because of the reputation we have built up with didi rugby.

“That business has been built up around rugby because of my background as an international playing for England. But I am a qualified PE teacher, I have been head of sport at a high school and have also been in a sports co-ordinator role so a multi-skilled offering has always been on the radar.

“Schools and nurseries have told us that they like to mix their activities.” Vicky Macqueen


“Schools and nurseries have told us that they like to mix their activities so it fits in well with what we are going to pilot – and hopefully roll out across the UK over time.

“Our classes will encourage pace, variety and challenge throughout. Children will add to their physical literacy and we are always committed to promoting a multi-skilled approach to learning whatever sport we offer.”

Craig Hunter, co-owner of didi rugby Reading, said: “We are really excited to be working with Vicky to start offering didi sports across the Reading area as soon as it is safe to do so from September.

“As schools, including after schools clubs and leisure centres start to get going again after lockdown, it is important that the younger children in the 18 moths to 6-years-old age range are not forgotten.”

Outdoor venues

didi rugby classes are already back up and running in most franchise areas across the UK with safe and socially-distanced classes proving a huge success at outdoor venues.

didi cricket pilot schemes were successfully launched in the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire areas before the pandemic and will now be rolled out in at least six other areas across the UK from next month onwards.

The didi sports offering will be specifically aimed at educational settings for the time being.

Read more:  Book your child on for a free taster session at any of our venues across the UK

Watch: didi cricket classes in January saw the first expansion of the didi rugby offering 

didi rugby story time with Heather Fisher is proving a huge hit

England star Heather Fisher holds up a book called The Little Dinosaur

didi rugby ambassador and England Women’s international Heather Fisher is causing a storm every night.

One of women’s sports most recognisable figure has been hosting ‘didi rugby story time’ for the last two weeks to brighten up the days of many didi stars during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020.

It has come as no surprise to those who know her, that the amount of children and parents who have been watching her broadcasts live on didi’s Facebook channel, has grown day by day.

Heather’s energetic delivery and friendly face has attracted a dedicated bunch of fans who have loved being face-to-face with her every weekday evening at 6.00pm.

Not only has Heather been reading some of the nation’s favourite children’s books written over the past 10 years, she has also been teaching them some new physical skills and things to work on for the following evening.

“I am loving doing this collaboration with didi rugby,” says Heather. “The amount of people who are tuning in has grown every night and I am really enjoying having fun with our didi stars.”

Friend of Heather Fisher

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen is a long-time friend of Heather and she has been delighted with the reaction to ‘story time’.

“Heather has been amazing and has already built up a real rapport with the children and parents who are tuning in every night at 6.00pm. We are having lots of fun and the feedback we have been getting has been incredible!”

Growing in popularity with members and non-members too, ‘didi rugby story time’ is part of an amazing effort from didi rugby franchises across the UK who have been hosting classes and setting challenges online, instead of face-to-face throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • WATCH this video below to see a full version of ‘story time with Heather Fisher’. Join us every weekday night LIVE on Facebook from 6.00pm.
  • Book your child onto didi rugby’s national online session every Monday from 11.00am during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown here: https://bit.ly/2z2XjsL

didi rugby online classes prove popular during coronavirus lockdown

A laptop computer shows an online didi rugby class

didi rugby’s online classes are proving to be a massive hit with parents and children across the UK.

While the coronavirus has led to schools closing and even a lockdown on all but essential travel, didi rugby coaches across the country have reacted quickly and are providing their ever-popular classes online instead.

didi rugby HQ is committed to keeping children active and having fun during the most testing time for families across the country.

The reaction from children and parents has been incredible with huge support coming from households in terms of both engagement and positive feedback to the classes.

Because of their success, didi rugby is now ramping up the amount of sessions they are offering which cover three age ranges from as young as 18 months up to 6 years of age.

It has been great to see older siblings joining in the activities too.

Online classes

Easy-to-use online platforms have made the delivery of the classes simple for coaches, parents and children alike and attendance numbers are increasing all of the time.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen, who has been delivering classes to her didi stars while home-schooling two children, said she has been over-joyed with the response.

“During tough times for families across the UK, it has felt amazing to be involved in something which is able to give so many people, so much fun,” she said.

“We all miss our regular classes terribly and can’t wait to get back to them when things become safer for all of us.

“But, until then, we will keep providing for our members via a fun, friendly and energetic online delivery, as well as making sure that our ethos of ‘fun, confidence and activity’ remains at the heart of everything we do.

“Because our classes are being delivered by the local coaches who usually run their sessions, it has been amazing to see the children’s response when they see a face they recognise.

“Obviously, that has helped get the kids engaged from the very first minute and the rapport between the group has been great to see.

Book a class

“We have enjoyed some amazing responses from parents who say they are not only happy to get their kids active but to give them a structured focus during the day.

“Meanwhile, our coaches have found online delivery very rewarding and have been full of stories about brightening up people’s day.”

NON-MEMBERS Book your child a place on our national online classes by visiting our booking page

MEMBERS: For options of classes local to your area with the coaches you usually see at your face-to-face sessions, visit the Find A Class Page and click on your local link

VIDEO: Watch didi rugby South Wales coach Robyn Lock challenge you to a Lockdown Challenge

What is didi rugby?

didi rugby has been devised to get young children active and to teach them new skills while having fun in a safe environment. Classes have been designed by former England Women’s international Vicky Macqueen and are aimed at kids in three separate age groups from 18 months to six years old. These age ranges offer flexible boundaries and are based on each child’s ability and confidence as opposed to a strict age structure. didi rugby has franchises across the UK.

Franchise owner Craig Hunter outlines his keys to didi rugby success

Children run around with balls in their hands at Reading Rugby Club's didi rugby session

Two years after launching the didi rugby Reading franchise, co-owner Craig Hunter explains why it has been such a big success and outlines opportunities to those thinking of getting involved.

“We are very pleased with our journey having started it all off with one days a week at one club, Reading RFC,” he said.

“After one month, I decided to go three days a week at work to develop didi rugby and a few months later, I went full time on didi because the opportunity seemed too good.

“It was a big change for me and the family but I bit the bullet and it has been both hard-work and very enjoyable.

“We are now doing 14 classes a week in the area and are working with three rugby clubs: Reading, Aldermaston and Thatcham.

“Our aim with those clubs is to help grow their minis section and, for example, in Reading’s Under-6s, 14 of their players are from didi classes last year. Our links with clubs enable the children to move seamlessly up to tag rugby when they become too old for didi rugby classes.

didi HQ team

“The siblings of those kids often come along and join in too.”

Craig runs the Reading output with co-owners Donna Clark and Clare Swadling and, with coaches like Umit Akyildiz and Sam Treverton taking on plenty of responsibility too, it’s a well-oiled team.

“We are also in 19 schools doing in-school classes or after school school sessions and we have had five other ones approach us recently too. Word of mouth is key and the didi rugby social media is great too,” Craig continued.

“The job i was doing before was great but I was ready for a change and rugby is my passion. I always wanted to do something like this and a number of my friends have come and got involved too which is great.

“It’s a real team effort in Reading and the didi HQ team have been great support as well. There is fantastic leadership here at didi rugby.”

Craig Hunter

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said Craig and the rest of his team had done an amazing job.

“Craig, Donna and everyone involved with didi rugby Reading have been superb at spreading didi rugby’s values and engaging with clubs, schools and the local community,” she said.

“They have worked very hard to grow their provision and have shown just what can be achieved with a didi rugby franchise.

“They have proactive and positive all along and it has been a pleasure for us all at didi rugby HQ to see their growth over the last two years. I am sure there is even more to come in the Reading and Berkshire area.”

  • If you would like an informal chat about the opportunities available to coach or own a didi rugby franchise, email info@didirugby.com or find out more on our website’s ‘franchising‘ section

Read more: 12 Reasons why you should launch a didi rugby franchise

Watch: VIDEO – didi rugby franchising can be a full-time or part-time venture…

Read more: New didi coach Jenny is also the only Level 6 female referee in Leicestershire.

Watch: See what Craig Hunter thought of didi rugby during his early days with the franchise…



Level 6 referee Jenny to lead new didi rugby classes at Birstall Rugby Club

didi rugby Birstall coach Jenny Burrows holds up a newspaper featuring a story about herself

A coach with a difference will be heading up new didi rugby classes at Birstall Rugby Club in Leicestershire from 21 March.

And there is unlikely to be any questioning of decisions made my coach Jenny Burrows!

The 34-year ex-player is now the only Level 6 female rugby referee in Leicestershire and can usually be found around the pitches of the Midlands with a whistle in tow.

Her Saturday mornings are now going to be taken up by leading new didi rugby classes at Birstall RFC in Leicestershire after an idea became reality very quickly thanks to the support of didi rugby’s founder and CEO, Vicky Macqueen.

Birstall Rugby Club

“I had been coaching didi rugby at Shepshed and Hinckley working with Vicky and then I spoke to someone at Birstall Rugby Club and they said that they would love to have something like that around,” said Jenny.

“At first it was just an idea but I spoke to Vicky about it and things have come together very quickly. She has been brilliant and we are going to start classes on Saturday 21 March.

“I always go and support Birstall anyway as a club so it is great to go and give something back.”

Jenny played in the backs for Stoneygate RFC in Leicestershire for 10 years but as injuries began to take their toll, she decided to take up refereeing instead and has never looked back, progressing to become the only Level 6 women ref in the county.

Birstall didi coach Jenny Burrows (centre) with a class of didi rugby children
Birstall didi coach Jenny Burrows (centre) with a class of didi rugby children

New venue

“I really enjoy still being out there in the middle,” said Jenny. “I do mainly men’s games and have never had anything bad happen to me in eight years of officiating.”

Jenny’s latest challenge though will be with subjects of a much younger variety – and she cannot wait to get stuck in.

“didi rugby is great because, not only does it teach kids basic skills, it also teaches them the core rugby values which have been important to me,” she said.


“Seeing how the kids respond to that is brilliant. I have played and refereed for years and wanted a new challenge alongside being an official because I like the idea of giving back to the sport I love.

“And Vicky has been brilliant in making this happen. Her passion is infectious and it’s unreal how much you can learn from one person.”

Vicky said she was excited to open a venue at yet another rugby club. didi rugby partner with clubs all over the country to provide a pipeline of youngsters to hopefully continue their rugby journey with those clubs when they become too old for didi classes.

“I am so chuffed that Jenny Burrows has joined the didi team,” said Vicky.

Rugby coach

“She is a wonderful ambassador for rugby in general and she shows all the values as a person and a coach that we would expect from someone involved with didi.

“She is enthusiastic, motivated and really wants children to succeed and help them develop.

“I was so pleased when she decided to take on classes at her local club. She really is a wonderful coach and person and a great addition to the didi family.”

Classes will get underway at 9.00am on Saturday 21 March at Birstall Rugby Club with all age groups going right through until 11.00am.


didi ambassadors – Sam Vesty

Sam Vesty is a didi rugby ambassador

Former England, Leicester, Bath and Worcester star, Sam Vesty, has become a didi rugby ambassador.

Now enjoying his role as Northampton Saints’ attack coach in the Gallagher Premiership, Sam says he ‘shares the same values’ as didi rugby and wanted to get involved and help spread those values whenever he can.

With three children of his own, Sam says he knows all about the importance of getting youngsters involved in activity and fun at a young age.

“I am privileged and honoured to become a didi rugby ambassador,” said the 38-year-old.

“I wanted to do this because I share the same values as didi rugby of getting kids active and having fun. Classes can also be used as a development tool to help children gain in confidence.

“You can also learn a lot of life skills through rugby like team work, discipline and respect, and these can be carried over into any walk of life.

“So come and join us, find your local didi rugby class and book your child in to enjoy a free taster session at any venue around the country.”

Sam Vesty

didi rugby founder and CEO, Vicky Macqueen, has known Sam a long time from his days as a fourth generation of Leicester Tigers players.

“Sam is a fantastic person, was a very talented player and is now proving himself to be one fo the best coaches in the country,” she said.

“He has very strong family values and has always been very active with his own children: Harry, Max and Charlotte.

“We are honoured to have him join the didi family and can’t wait to get him involved in what we do.”


didi cricket seeks new venues after successful taster sessions

Children talk to a man wearing a didi cricket tee-shirt

didi cricket has got off to a great start with four sessions at Stoke Orchard Community Centre near Cheltenham producing plenty of fun, laughter and no little skill!

Coach Keith Smith is the first didi rugby coach in the country to pilot the new classes and he has been delighted with what he has seen.

With similar principles being applied from his didi rugby classes across the Cheltenham area, sports lover Keith has seen children extend their sporting prowess with fun and games involving a bat and ball this time.

“We were absolutely full for the first week with 30 kids turning up for a taster session,” said Keith.

“With so many of them coming back in the following weeks too, I think they clearly enjoyed themselves and the kids were better than I expected.

didi cricket fun

“It was great to see so many of them getting a quick grasp of hitting a ball after I had taught them how to hold a bat and the parent engagement was lovely to see as well.

“I had some really positive comments afterwards and am looking forward to carrying on the classes now.”

Regular classes will get underway from Sunday 1 March at Stoke Orchard Community Centre and Keith is looking for more settings to expand his list of venues and extra coaches to help oversee the sessions.

If any cricket club in the Cheltenham, Gloucester and Forest of Dean areas are interested in hosting didi cricket sessions and maybe open up a pathway to provide possible future members of their club, please get in touch via our Facebook page or emailing keith.smith@didirugby.com.

Read more: didi cricket sessions in school get wonderful reaction

Book: Your child in for a didi cricket class

Watch: See how much fun didi cricket can bring…


Wheelchair rugby star Coach Umit coaches didi rugby

didi rugby coach Umit Akyildiz is in his wheelchair holding a didi rugby ball

didi rugby Reading’s latest coaching acquisition is causing a storm.

Umit Akyildiz is an inspirational member of the Berkshire Banshees Wheelchair rugby team.

He is also inspiring young children to have fun and learn new skills leading didi rugby classes too.

Co-owner of didi rugby Reading is Craig Hunter and he is also the chairman of the Banshees.

“I got to know Umit through my involvement with the Banshees,” said Craig.

“He was keen to get involved in didi rugby so I took him to didi rugby classes as a support coach.

“He has been working closely with me and he has brought so much to the classes.

“Umit is a very positive, happy person and he is great with the kids. They absolutely love him.”

Wheelchair rugby

And, as far as Umit is concerned, the feeling is mutual.

“Because of my rugby background I really enjoy being part of didi rugby because it gives me a sense of achievement helping others reach their goals,” he said.

“didi rugby is great for the children’s development because it helps them learn better ways to cope with the highs and lows of life. It also helps children develop patience and rugby skills too.

“Being the first coach didi rugby Reading coach to do so from a wheelchair gives me a sense of accomplishment and knowing that I have achieved something that is so important to my life.”

didi rugby coach Umit Akyildiz is in his wheelchair holding a didi rugby ball
didi rugby coach Umit Akyildiz

Wheelchair rugby is a fusion of ice hockey, handball and rugby which not only involves speed and chair contact but also requires tactical intelligence.

Eight rolling substitutes make up squads of 12, with four players on the court at any one time.

The sport is for male and female disabled athletes with the emphasis on fun, excitement and inclusion, particularly for players with higher levels of impairment.

Club sessions are open to anyone interested in learning more about the game, including volunteers. For further information, please contact berkswr@gmail.com or craigchairman@gmail.com

Acti-Fit have become didi rugby’s official education partner

Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference

Acti-Fit have become didi rugby’s official education partner.

As a result, they will help to provide new coaches for didi rugby’s ever-growing class numbers and offer new and existing coaches the opportunity to gain a professional, chartered qualification on the job.

Based in the Midlands and driven by a host of passionate people, Acti-Fit are on a mission to push the boundaries of coaching by harnessing the power of sport and education.

With a team of experts, they provide 360 coaching consultancy, to support coaches with their educational development.

Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference
Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference

They embrace an ethos of getting people active and having fun through physical activity and it is an ethos which fits perfectly with the mantra that drives didi rugby and its classes for children up and down the country.

Through their knowledge and support networks, Acti-Fit will help provide didi with the right coaches at the right time for classes across the UK, in areas which are looking to expand.

This will provide not only more dedicated staff to support didi rugby’s ever-growing numbers of young members but will also allow those coaches to gain a professional qualification while doing so.

The Acti-Fit team promise to make those coaches become the best coach they can be and they will also give them the opportunity to become chartered in their respective field.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen says she is delighted to confirm the partnership with Acti-Fit.

Personal development

“We have been chatting to them for a long time about having the same ethos, mentality and goals of getting kids active across the country,” she said. “It has been great to hear their ideas about making people better coaches and managers and putting them onto formal qualifications.

“We are always keen to make our didi coaches the best they can be with ongoing personal development.

“There will be a clear pathway to develop the children, their classes and the coaches who lead them.

“The partnership will also provide a clear pathway for didi coaches and franchise holders to develop and learn while they are on the job.”

didi rugby already teaches a framework which fits in with rugby’s governing body’s guidelines and with Vicky being one of only a handful of RFU Level 4 female coaches in the UK, youngsters who attend didi classes are always in safe hands.

Acti-Fit Partnership

“We are confident that the formal qualifications that Acti-Fit are adding to our coaching will stand us apart from other providers and ensure that customers get the very best from a session when they attend didi rugby with their children.

“It will be a very healthy partnership and it is exciting for me to be able to give our franchisees some great training which will, in turn, support them to support their loyal customers.

Ellis Bailey is a director at Acti-Fit and he says that he quickly realised there was lots of synergy between the two companies soon after meeting Vicky.

“When we set up Acti-Fit, we wanted to do something to make a difference,” said Ellis.

“Like didi rugby, we have a lot of things we feel passionately about like getting kids active and healthy and trying to better the quality of coaching in the UK through education.

Coaching pathway

“We were happy to start a didi franchise as part of the partnership too and we also wanted to offer franchise owners the opportunity to grow with an educational coaching pathway.

“Whenever we discuss going into a partnership with anyone, we want to invest in people and what I saw from didi rugby was a group of people with a genuine passion for what they believe in.

“It’s not a made-up story. It’s genuinely what they want to do. Vicky is a genuine person with a huge passion for sport and wanting to work for the community.

“Our partnership really is a match made in heaven.”

  • Watch: didi cricket delights school children in Gloucestershire…



didi cricket school session fun at Highnam Primary Academy

didi cricket coach Keith Smith has fun with a class of children in a sports hall

The spread of didi cricket is continuing at pace with children at a primary school in Gloucestershire the latest to enjoy a fun-filled session.

Highnam C of E Primary Academy provided a very hospitable welcome and some of their pupils showed some fantastic hand/eye co-ordination while enjoying games with coach, Keith Smith.

“didi cricket has been evolving for a number of months now and, as a didi rugby coach in the area, I have been excited to be able to offer this new sport too,” said Keith.

“It’s great to get into Highnam School and tie that in with the launch of some pilot classes in Stoke Orchard in late January/early February.

“It is a different sport but the same ethos as didi rugby. The games are different but we are looking at getting kids active and having fun with sport.

“So far, it has been going down an absolute storm.

Highnam Primary Academy

Steve Dean is the headteacher at Highnam C of E Primary Academy and he said he was happy to welcome didi cricket into the school.

“I am a keen advocate of cricket myself and play for the local Highnam team,” said Mr Dean. “So I want to see cricket being developed in schools locally.

“Maybe the children will end up playing locally in years to come, or for the county, or even for England.”

  • WATCH: See didi cricket in action at Stoke Orchard Community Centre:

  • WATCH: What is didi rugby?