didi rugby Worcester will launch at Worcester RFC on Saturday 14 November from 9am.
Worcester Warriors and England star Alex Matthews will be at the helm of the new venture.
Alex, her coaching team, didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen and Worcester RFC cannot wait to get going and start bringing the fun, games and values of didi rugby to the parents and children in the area.
Free taster sessions will be available for all age groups (18 months to 6 years) for those parents wanting to give us a try on the launch day.
“I have already seen the power of didi rugby and seen how children learn so much from it,” said Alex.
“It gets them active and they always have fun. It’s a tremendously well-run and well-organised programme at didi and I am really looking forward to getting involved.”
Worcester RFC chairman Steven Lloyd said: “It’s great to have didi rugby at Worcester RFC as another branch of the rugby family tree.
“We now really do offer rugby for all ages from 18 months up. Our club is all about inclusion during these difficult times and we are proud to offer a safe, happy, experienced and welcoming space for all to enjoy what rugby has to offer. Welcome didi rugby.”
didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen added: “There is a great team at Worcester RFC ready to offer all that didi rugby has to the local community.
“The club have been fantastic support in welcoming us and working proactively to get didi rugby up and running, while Alex has a huge amount of experience to bring to the party and is really keen to give something back to the sport.
“We are all looking forward to what should be a fantastic launch on 14 November with lots of fun and games for children – and their parents!”
Regular didi sessions will begin the following Saturday (21 November).
More details of the launch day and classes to follow will be coming soon.
To book your child’s place on our didi rugby Worcester launch day, please visit: https://bit.ly/34lTETS
We all have a role to play in making sure our children recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, says didi rugby CEO, Vicky Macqueen.
Thankfully, the vast majority of children seem to only get mild symptoms, if any at all, if they get infected by the virus.
But they have most certainly endured long-lasting effects to both their mental and physical health by missing almost half a year of their schooling, as well as being cooped up inside for large parts of that time with few places to burn off their energy.
As a former teacher myself, I have seen at first hand for many years how physically inactive children can sometimes struggle inside a classroom, both with their attainment, confidence and behaviour.
Of course, I am generalising here. As the CEO of a company like didi rugby, I am also clearly biased. Hands up.
But there are few people who could argue that physical activity gets kids moving, gets their heart rate up, improves their fitness and can make them more alert when inside a classroom.
So it was no surprise to see some new research from Sheffield Hallam University showing just how much of a benefit activity can have on school age children.
At didi rugby and for me as an RFU Level 4 coach, qualified PE teacher and Early Learning provider, I really believe we do generally underestimate how much a young child can gain from being physically active from a much earlier age.
It becomes imbedded in them and, part of their DNA, to feel good, happy and confident after exercise. They don’t necessarily know why and they don’t know how, but they know they feel good.
It’s not only kids that benefit. Parents have reported the same feelings after didi classes themselves. One of our major aims across the UK is to educate and support families to all feel better, healthier and more confident in life by taking part in our sessions. The positive effects of physical activity are absolutely massive!
The huge Sheffield Hallam study was on more than 60,000 students and 4,000 teachers and surveyed attitudes to work, physical and mental health.
The researched showed, in many different ways, that helping young people get active can play a vital role in helping them catch up on work missed during the Covid-19 pandemic and in supporting their mental health too.
Fun and activity
The report shows that 92% of staff believed that being physically active helps with school work, while 91% of students felt that physical activity can improve their mental and physical health.
That is fairly unequivocal isn’t it?
Now the national lockdown has ended (and let’s hope it doesn’t need to return) and organised children’s educational sports classes are being backed by the Government, let’s make the most of it.
All of our didi classes are dedicated to getting children that fun and activity they need to keep them fit and active, to get endorphins flowing around their body, get them laughing, interacting with other children their own age and giving them quality fun time with parents, who have had a tough time as well over the last seven months.
My passion is to make everyone’s life a little bit better and even more so now!
Young didi rugby coach Caitlin Clark is the star of a new feature article in the Daily Telegraph.
The 17-year-old daughter of didi rugby Reading franchise co-owner Donna Clark tells the story of how she has always had to battle against the system as a young female rugby player striving to be able to develop her skills at the same pace as boys.
Having played the game side-by-side boys as a youngster, things changed dramatically when mixed sexes were not allowed to play together from the age of 12.
All of a sudden, boys were playing on bigger pitches, playing longer matches, allowed to push in the scrum and hand-off, while girls were not.
The Daily Telegraph
Caitlin, who has ambitions to reach the England national team as a player, said she felt held back and put down.
She told the Telegraph: “I actually questioned whether rugby was a sport I should be doing. It was almost as if us girls weren’t worthy enough of playing because the rules were – and still are – so different, especially physically. Things were and still are so simplified for girls at that level.”
As a teenager, Caitlin was always bigger than most other girls in her under-13 age group, yet she was forced to train with nine-year-old girls nearly half her size. While boys were allowed to play up an age group, the rules didn’t allow Caitlin to move up into the under-15s.
Changes in the rules
The Telegraph feature goes on to outline Caitlin’s frustrations as a female rugby player and cites other discrepancies and inconsistencies in the grass roots game facing girls, as opposed to boys. With the numbers of girls playing the game increasing, it will be interesting to see if the game’s governing body (RFU) make any changes in the rules and structure in the coming years.
Whatever happens on the playing front, Caitlin is a hugely-respected member of the didi rugby Reading coaching team and is loved by dozens of youngsters she coaches on a regular basis.
Reading co-owner Craig Hunter said: “When didi rugby Reading launched in early 2018, Caitlin came along with Donna Clark, her mum and my business partner, to help us out. She has been with us ever since.
“She has developed her confidence and coaching skills throughout this time and is everything we look for in a coach. She has excellent rapport with all the didi superstars and parents alike and is a great role model for them all – but in particular the girls.
“With the development of the girls game at club level going from strength to strength, we are really keen to progress the didi players into club rugby when they are ready to join the Under-6 age groups. As soon as we can get Caitlin on an RFU Level 2 rugby course, we will, and she can then look to lead sessions on her own and build a team of coaches around her to help didi rugby Reading grow.
“Caitlin is also very keen to deliver kids didi rugby parties as soon as we are able to so safely and in line with Government and RFU guidelines, something she will be excellent at I have no doubt. If we could clone Caitlin we would.
didi rugby coach
Mum Donna added: “As a parent, I can’t put into words how proud I am of Caitlin, she has been playing rugby since she was six years old and has always shown great tenacity and passion for the game.
“With such determination, she has gone from strength to strength both on and off the pitch. She never ceases to amaze me with everything she has achieved whether it be at club, county and Centre of Excellence level.
“I have also seen her blossom as a didi rugby coach, she has such patience and can instantly spot a child that might be struggling or needs a bit of extra support and just knows how to make them smile and helps them gain their confidence.
“Her years as a rugby player have helped bring her expertise to a coaching role and through creating her own session plans ensures that every child progresses with the fundamentals of the game, whilst having fun!”
“Oadby and Wigston are huge population areas with loads of children who we hope will come and join us for a taster session to see what didi rugby has to offer,” said Jenny.
“Both clubs have got big minis and juniors sections and we can hopefully, over time, provide a conveyor belt of children from our didi age groups, into those who start with tag rugby.
“It’s a great opportunity for us and them to offer our programme in the area and hopefully get children and parents along to join in and have some fun with us.
“There will be lots of parents involved at those two clubs on the playing side and they will want to get their kids involved in rugby from a young age. didi provides that opportunity and enables children to start learning new skills and confidence.
“While there are extended lockdown measures currently in the Oadby and Wigston area, didi rugby is not adversely affected by that and all classes will be covid-safe and will operate social distancing. As our classes at Birstall have shown, having lots of fun while being safe is perfectly possible!”
didi rugby CEO and owner Vicky Macqueen said it was fantastic to have two more well-respected clubs involved to help promote fun, activity and didi rugby values in such a strong rugby area.
“We have built up relationships with rugby clubs all over the country because we want didi rugby to be merely the start of children’s journey with our great sport,” said Vicky.
“Our idea has always been to host classes at local clubs, get local parents and children involved in the set-up and feeling proud of what they are a part of. Then, when the kids become too old for didi classes, give them a natural progression into the minis section of clubs they already feel home at.
World Cup winner and newly-signed Worcester Women’s Rugby star Alex Matthews has joined the didi rugby team who will be launching didi rugby Worcester.
Alex has been part of the England XVs and Sevens set-up for almost a decade now but had her world thrown upside down when the England Sevens set-up became a casualty of recent coronavirus-related cuts by the Rugby Union (RFU).
Determined to ‘give something back’ to the sport that had made her what she is today, Alex had already experienced the positive benefits of didi rugby having helped out at didi rugby Reading.
So, when she got talking with didi founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen and then signed to play for Worcester Warriors in the Women’s Premier XVs this season, a partnership began to take place.
Now everything is in place, didi rugby Worcester will become the latest venue to get young children aged 18 months to 6 years playing rugby, learning new skills and having fun. Class venues will be released very soon.
It’s the latest step in an incredible few months for Alex.
“When the pandemic began, and we had to leave the Sevens group, nobody knew what to expect,” she said.
“When we found out it was the end of the Sevens programme, it was heart-breaking. We are all desperate to go to the Olympics, and be in the best place possible, so we are currently trying to secure private funding – and that’s ongoing.
“I went through a range of emotions at the time, a lot of uncertainty. What am I going to do with my life? Would I need to go and get a job – a ‘proper job’? I panicked. But then I took a more practical approach and said to myself ‘what’s the rush’? I wanted to make sure that I am doing something that I have passion for and then didi rugby came along.
“didi will give me more of a purpose and it will be great to get young children involved in this sport and also get involved in the local community around Worcester.
Children learn so much from didi
“I have already seen the power of didi rugby and the children learn so much from it, without them even knowing. It gets them active and they always have fun. It’s a tremendously well-run and well-organised programme at didi and I am really looking forward to getting involved.”
Vicky Macqueen added: “It’s just amazing to have Alex involved in the launch of didi rugby Worcester.
“Having been involved with classes in the Reading area, Alex is fully aware of the joy our sessions can bring to both parents and children and she knows our ethos inside out.
“Her determination and drive is obvious and her background in the sport is incredible having been involved in the national set-up for a decade.
“We are proud that she has decided to help us get didi rugby Worcester off the ground and can’t wait for the parents in that area to be able to see just how good our classes are for helping their children develop new skills and confidence in a safe environment.”
Hugely respected sports coach Richard Cheetham (MBE) has become a didi rugby ambassador.
Richard is a senior fellow in sports coaching at the University of Winchester and has built up an incredible reputation for creative thinking within the industry.
He has been at the University of Winchester since 2005 and is known for a more holistic approach to coaching during time with Fulham FC and Gallagher Premiership club, Saracens.
He has gained recognition nationally and internationally within coach education and has been an invited speaker for British Cycling, Cycling Ireland, England Handball and the England Cricket Coaches Association.
Richard knows didi rugby CEO and founder Vicky Macqueen (Level 4 RFU coach) through the coaching sector. He says he is delighted to throw his support behind didi’s ethos to get young children active, having fun and building confidence from a young age.
Early years’ experience
“The influence of a positive experience of sport and physical activity can last a lifetime and a child’s early years’ experience of both is critical,” says Richard.
“Their experiences shape attitudes, behaviours and can enable them to build confidence, have fun, make new friends and learn new skills in a safe and supportive environment.
“This is at the heart of the didi rugby philosophy and shows the importance they place on providing a setting which embodies these.
“It is an initiative that I feel very proud to have been invited to be an ambassador for and as a coach and coach educator, the approach taken here is one I fully endorse.
“The interests of the child are at the heart of their work with a great programme design and a wish for those children to reflect upon an enjoyable experience and create a thirst for wanting more.”
Vicky said: “We have some amazing ambassadors at didi rugby who have played the sport to the highest level. But to get the support of someone with such a great reputation on the coaching side of sport means a lot too.
“Richard’s record speaks for itself, he is a wonderful man and is very passionate about what we do and the reasons behind why we do it.”
Founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen has paid tribute to children, parents, carers, coaches and franchise owners who have helped didi rugby bounce back from lockdown and now be in a position where classes across the UK are ‘absolutely booming’.
With regular classes filling up rapidly, areas in places like Sutton Coldfield and Stafford have even added extra sessions to meet demand.
Similarly, the launch of a new didi rugby area in Harrogate, set for September 19, has over 100 children booked in for what is set to be an exciting and busy day.
“It has been astonishing,” said Vicky. “The demand we have seen for our provision has gone through the roof and it has been amazing for our local coaches to see the smiling faces of the children they were entertaining via Zoom during lockdown.
“We spoke as a group of coaches and franchises on a regular basis during lockdown planning our recovery when restrictions had died down. We discussed putting ourselves into a position where we could ‘survive then thrive’ when we were allowed to go back to face-to-face delivery.
“The planning and detail that went into our return was thorough and I would like to thank all of those involved in getting didi rugby classes back up and running and all parents and children who have been quick to trust our safety measures and return to outdoor classes with a smile on their face.”
Indoor and outdoor didi classes came to a dramatic halt – like most other things in the country – when PM Boris Johnson placed the country under lockdown in March.
But local didi coaches across the UK did an amazing job of maintaining engagement with their young stars and parents with online sessions during lockdown.
And since restrictions were lifted, didi HQ were very quick to re-start classes with social distancing and COVID cleanliness at the top of the agenda.
As restrictions have eased, didi classes around the country have seen an incredible influx of interest from parents who are looking for a safe environment to bring their child for some much-needed fun and activity.
With didi cricket also launching in selected areas too, Vicky says she has been overwhelmed by the support of franchise owners and coaches who have committed to returning to class delivery as soon as possible – and the way they have tackled a challenging situation to provide fun and activity for children in their areas.
And having home-schooled her own two young children through the lockdown period, Vicky says she has since met so many people who were delighted to be able to get out and get active with their kids.
“We have all been in the same boat haven’t we? Stuck inside our four walls with children who were desperate to do what kids do best – get outside, playing and having fun,” added Vicky.
“It has been a tough period for us all as parents but we have come out on the other side and didi rugby – and cricket for that matter – are absolutely booming as a result of some great commitment from our didi team and our parents and children. There are exciting times ahead.”
The numbers of excited children and parents attending the launch of didi rugby Harrogate on Saturday 19 September have gone through the roof!
With all scheduled classes across the three didi age groups filling up at a tremendous pace, franchise owners Mike and Lucy Barnett have added another class for their minis (18 months to 3 years old).
And they have promised that if numbers continue to rise, they will not see anyone left out of what promises to be a fantastic day at Harrogate RUFC.
“The response we have received so far has been overwhelming,” said Lucy. “We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone and introducing lots of children to our fun didi rugby sessions.
“Over 40 children have already booked in to the three taster sessions we are offering and, due to the high demand, we have now added another one too.
“If this becomes full, we want to assure parents and children that we will add further classes if necessary. We don’t want anyone to miss out.
“Our aim at didi rugby Harrogate is to get children active as young as possible to aid their development, confidence and skills so we are thrilled that so many little ones want to come along and see what we have on offer.
“It’s going to be a fantastic fun day and we can’t wait to get started on our new didi journey.”
The launch will be didi rugby’s second new area launch since the end of blanket lockdown restrictions. didi rugby Suffolk opened its doors in Leiston last month.
The Harrogate team of Lucy, Mike, Maisie and Martha Barnett will make it very much a family affair with a team that is dedicated to helping children have fun, stay active and grow in confidence.
Mike and Lucy have an extensive background in both rugby and teaching and their popularity in the local area is proving obvious with the amount of interest shown in their launch day and future classes with didi rugby Harrogate.
didi rugby CEO and owner Vicky Macqueen says she is delighted not only for Mike and Lucy and all of the hard work they have put in so far, but also because of the response to didi classes returning across the country since the end of lockdown.
“I am confident that Mike, Lucy and Maisie will do an amazing job spreading the values of didi rugby right across the area in and around Harrogate,” says Vicky.
“They have worked incredibly hard to let people know about didi rugby and the response has been absolutely wonderful from the public.
“We have seen parents flocking back to didi rugby in recent weeks with one of our areas doubling their membership in just six weeks. Parents are keen to get their children active and have responded to our safely-delivered, outdoor classes in numbers.
“We are all really chuffed that didi rugby – and our newly-launched didi cricket sessions too – are thriving after such a tumultuous period in everyone’s lives.
“I cannot thank our children, parents, carers and supporters enough for continuing the spread of didi sports around the UK and beyond.”
Keep up to date with the latest news from didi rugby Harrogate by following their Facebook page.
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.
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.”
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.
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