Heather Fisher excited to meet new faces at Cornwall launch

didi ambassador Heather Fisher smiles

Ex-England Sevens and GB Olympian Heather Fisher says she is excited to meet new didi stars of the future when she takes part in the grand launch of didi rugby Cornwall on Saturday 21 August.

The didi rugby ambassador will be part of a fantastic morning of entertainment that is planned for Boscawen Park in central Truro from 9am.

Fisher will join didi rugby founder and ex-England international Vicky Macqueen as well as the mayor of Truro. didi mascots Dougie and Daisy will be there to bring fun and mischief to the day too

Games will be run by the new Cornwall coaching team, led by Matt Bosley, that has been assembled to take didi rugby across the rugby-mad county.

Truro

Free taster sessions are available on the day for anyone that wants to bring their child along, join in and have some fun. Regular classes will begin the following week at Truro Scout Hut.

Heather said: “We know how passionate the people of Cornwall are about their rugby and I am really excited that didi rugby is launching in this part of the world with a great team behind it.

“As an ambassador of didi rugby, I am right behind the values and ethos of providing fun, activity and enjoyment for the children who attend our classes.

Grow in confidence

“Not only that, but we know from classes across the country that didi is also a great way for young children to build friendships and grow in confidence.

“I am looking forward to meeting some new faces so come on down and have some fun.”

The launch will feature age-appropriate games and fun based around the sport rugby will plenty of other attractions.

Book your child’s place to meet Heather and the while didi rugby team….

🎟 Launch event
👶 For 18 month – 6 year olds
☀️ At Boscawen Park, Truro
🗓 next Saturday 21st August
Find out more about the launch of didi rugby Cornwall by heading over to the didi rugby Cornwall Facebook page

 

Find out more about Boscawen Park in central Truro.

WATCH: Heather Fisher says why sport can help children in later life…

didi rugby Cornwall will fly out of the blocks in Truro

A boy runs away from chasers with a didi rugby Cornwall ball in his hand

One of didi rugby’s most exciting launches in years will take place in August.

didi rugby Cornwall will fly out of the blocks in central Truro on Saturday 21 August.

Fun for all ages from 18 months to 6 years will run from 9am to 11.30am with a real family activities day being planned for all.

The launch will take place at Boscawen Park and will be attended by didi rugby founder and former England international, Vicky Macqueen.

Boscawen Park

It will also feature former England star and didi rugby ambassador, Heather Fisher who will be playing games with children and signing autographs.

The launch is the first phase of plans that are being put in place by didi rugby Cornwall owners Chris Morrison and Ross Denning to spread didi rugby far and wide throughout this rugby-mad county.

“Sports that are fun and engaging is what we’re all about. The fact that it is through rugby, a game that we have tremendous respect for is giant plus,” they said.

“Cornwall has a long history of producing great rugby talent, from its county representation in the national championships to professional and international representation from the likes of Phil Vickery, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell and Lucy Demaine to name a few.

Truro Rugby Club

“We are privileged to work with local rugby clubs and schools to bring the game to girls and boys from 18 months to 6 years.

“It’s a great privilege to be bringing the didi rugby brand to Cornwall. Vicky and the didi family have been nothing short of amazing and supportive on our journey to launching this great platform.”

 didi rugby Cornwall have already formed a development link to Truro Rugby Club. Part of the didi ethos is to build partnerships with local clubs to offer youngsters a natural pathway to keep playing the game when they become too old for didi classes at the age of 7.

didi founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said they were hoping to build links with other clubs in the county as soon as possible.

Getting children active

“Chris and Ross are keen to get as many children and parents involved in our wonderful sport as possible.

“They have a real passion for getting children active and having fun and have already been receiving some great sport from the local community as they put their plans in place.

“We can’t wait to get started at Boscawen Park.”

Classes on the launch date will run as follows…

minis – 18 months to 3 years – 9-00am to 9.40am

juniors – 3 years to 4 years – 9.50am to 10.30am

seniors – 4 years to 6 years – 10.40am to 11.20am

To secure your child’s free place, please contact cornwall@didirugby.com or visit our Find a Class page online and book from there:

Read more: didi rugby wins ‘Outstanding Community Award’ for online classes

WATCH: didi ambassador Emily Scarratt loves helping out at a didi rugby class…

Shelford RFC to host didi rugby South Cambridgeshire launch and classes

didi rugby South Cambridgeshire lead Amanda Jones at Shelford RFC

didi rugby’s new franchise lead for south Cambridgeshire is the sort of person you would want on your side in the trenches.

Meet Amanda Jones.

Shelford RFC’s new rugby development officer will be heading up the launch of new didi rugby classes attached to the club from the launch date of July 31 onwards.

Having grown up on the streets of Port Talbot in Wales and been in the army for eight years, Amanda has been used to battling for the things she believes in all of her life and has harboured a desire to pave her own way in some traditionally male-dominated environments.

Values of didi rugby

Previously, that has included gender inequality in rugby and encouraging more children with physical and learning difficulties to get involved in the sport.

Her latest challenge is to spread the values of didi rugby far and wide across the south Cambridgeshire region and, with a committed club totally behind her, she is naturally looking forward to it.

“I have previously been involved with setting up a girls team for 11 to 17-year-olds from scratch which attracted 30 members on two years,” said Amanda. “It helped being persuasive, passionate and female!

“I have also been fighting against gender inequality too and tried to tackle why so many dads bought their sons to rugby but not many mums bought their daughters to rugby.”

didi rugby South Cambridgeshire lead Amanda Jones at Shelford RFC
didi rugby South Cambridgeshire lead Amanda Jones at Shelford RFC

Amanda has also worked for the RFU as a community coach and the Saracens Foundation as a project officer around inclusivity which involved trying to encourage kids with physical and learning difficulties into rugby.

“That was really rewarding,” said Amanda. “I remember one child who really struggled to talk but loved the social side of rugby and now talks really well.”

Passion

That passion to help people is still burning bright as Amanda begins her role as the didi rugby lead for South Cambridgeshire at Shelford RFC, where classes will take place on a regular basis after a big launch on Saturday 31 July.

“Shelford see a vision which is not just about men’s rugby. Now we will have children from 18 months involved in the club and a pathway for them to keep on enjoying all the good things that rugby brings.

“There will be some children of that age who, due to the pandemic, have never had a chance to properly socialise with kids their own age.

“My sister had a baby boy during lockdown and now I have an 18-month-old nephew who struggles to interact.

Build confidence

“Not only will didi rugby give them the chance to build their confidence in social settings, it will also give parents of these children a chance to enjoy being out with other parents of kids the same age too.”

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said she was excited about the didi rugby coming to Shelford RFC.

“This is a club with fantastic and inclusive values that are perfectly aligned with what we are trying to achieve at didi rugby,” she said.

“I have been hugely impressed by their plans and ideas to build a strong didi rugby base and I can feel the passion of the people involved in the club.

“Amanda is great. She is a tremendously driven individual and a background in inclusivity. She has an infectious personality which will be ideal for bringing didi rugby to the local community.”

If you would like to secure your free place at the big didi rugby launch at Shelford RFC on July 31, please contact rdo.shelfordrfc@gmail.com

Amanda can also be contacted for more information about the times and dates of the regular classes that will follow. Free taster sessions are available to everyone.

Read more: didi rugby wins ‘Outstanding Community Award’

Find out more about Shelford RFC.

WATCH: didi rugby LIVE with World Cup winner and didi ambassador,
Emily Scarratt…

didi rugby classes in Coventry and Warwickshire are back with a bang

Two boys with didi rugby shirts on watch a game

didi rugby classes in the Coventry and Warwickshire areas are coming back with a bang.

Andy Fox, the Mini & Junior Chairman at Old Leamingtonians RFC will be rekindling old classes and starting plenty more new ones in the area too.

To begin with, didi sessions previously run by Kiri Bennett before she moved out of the area, will start again at Old Leamingtonians RFC as well as St Martin’s Church Hall in Finham.

Andy is currently working with several venues across the Coventry and Warwickshire area to launch further classes during the rest of 2021.

Group of friends

His passion for didi rugby could not be stronger, not only because of his role of encouraging youngsters to play the game at his club but for the role the sport has had in bringing his own son out of his shell.

Andy always enjoyed rugby as a child but really got back into the sport when his son Henry joined the U6’s at local club Old Leamingtonians RFC. 

“He absolutely loved it and quickly made a good group of friends,” said Andy.

From starting in the Under-6s, Henry is now 12 and still loving his rugby. He is not the only one with Andy’s other son, Isaac (8) now playing in the younger age groups.

Junior sections

Andy’s involvement in the club has grown as his sons have progressed and he is now the chairman of one of the largest mini and junior sections in Warwickshire, made up of over 450 children and 70 coaches covering age groups of U6-U16s.

It’s a position that has enabled him to build links with many other clubs’ mini and junior set-ups in the area and Andy hopes that will enable him to spread didi classes far and wide.

didi rugby is always keen to build partnerships with local clubs so that there is clear pathway for a child to keep playing the game when they turn 7.

“I have got good connections with the clubs in my area from my time at Leamingtonians. There are lots of positive conversations being had already as we start to grow didi rugby in the area.”

Launches

Details of re-launches and new classes will follow soon and launches at Old Leamingtonians and St Martin’s Church Hall are expected in mid-June.

For more information and to book your child in for a free taster session at any of these classes, please contact andy.fox@didirugby.com.

Read more: didi rugby wins ‘Outstanding Community Award’ for online classes during the pandemic lockdown.

WATCH: didi rugby LIVE with England and Saracens star, Poppy Cleall….

NEWS: didi rugby wins ‘Outstanding Community Award’ for online classes

A laptop computer shows an online didi rugby class

didi rugby have won an award for providing such a large amount of online classes and support for members during the pandemic.

The recognition came from international business management software provider TeamUp, who run systems in several countries for businesses which interact with members and customers via online platforms, such as Zoom.

didi rugby were awarded the ‘Outstanding Community Award’ for hosting 155 online classes between March 2020 and March 2021.

Founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said she was both proud and delighted to see the whole team get rewarded for their determination and hard work during what was a challenging time for everyone.

Family business

“There is a real family feel to our business. So, as soon as lockdown began, didi HQ got together with our franchise owners and coaches on Zoom calls to discuss how we could still be there for our young did stars and their parents during lockdown.

“We know that face-to-face classes would be unlikely for some time. So, as  a result, we grabbed the bull by the horns as a group. We embraced technology that was new to many of us and started delivering online classes instead.

“I am not saying it all went without a hitch! But to be able to deliver so many during that time is testament to the hard work of our franchise owners and coaches. Some of them had never hosted anything online in their lives before.

Local coaches

“We were all desperate to provide a link between local coaches and local children. We also wanted to try and make sure that we gave parents some interaction too. Lockdown was such a tough time for many of them stuck at home with young children.

“We received some amazing feedback during 2020 for our online classes and challenges. It was great to be able to put a smile on the face of kids and their parents while the pandemic took a hold on normal life.

“I would also like to thank our didi customers who stuck by us during this time and encouraged us to do more classes by their attendance and their feedback.

Entertainment

“I am extremely proud of everyone’s efforts and take my hat off to all of our coaches and franchise owners who provided inclusive fun and entertainment for their members, even if they only had a rolled-up pair of socks to join in with.

“A big thank-you to TeamUp for their support and for telling us that the award is richly deserved and a reflection of the strong family environment we operate in here at didi.”

Read more: Kestevan’s Kerri is flying high after daredevil plane jump

Book a free taster session: Click on here and find your nearest class

WATCH: Why didi rugby ambassador Emily Scarratt loves helping out at a class…

Kesteven’s Kerri is flying high after daredevil plane jump

Kesteven Kerri Arlando gets ready to jump out of a plane

The head coach of didi rugby Grantham didn’t bat an eyelid when she jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet.

Those that know her will not be surprised by that.

Kerri Arlando of didi rugby Grantham gets her flying wings
Kerri Arlando of didi rugby Grantham gets her flying wings

Kerri Arlando is certainly not afraid of heights so when her family bought her a sky dive because they thought she might like it….she did!

“I think my family were more nervous than I was,” said Kerri. “I didn’t have any butterflies at all. Even climbing into the plane, I felt fine.

Kesteven Ladies

“I am more scared about posting a didi rugby video than I am jumping out of a plane!”

Kerri, who plays scrum-half for Kesteven Ladies, made the jump from Langar Airfield which is about 20 miles from her home, attached to an instructor.

“Bizarrely, I didn’t feel like I was falling. It felt more like I was flying,” she said. “It’s hard to put it into words how it felt. I didn’t scream when I jumped but it was so cold that it did take my breath away.

Kerri Arlando gets ready to jump out of a plane
Kerri Arlando gets ready to jump out of a plane

“I would do it all again and am actually thinking about trying to get a free-fall license when I can. My two boys, Leonard (14) and Alfred (12) both want to do it when they are 16 too. Though I don’t think it’s my husband Dimitri’s cup of tea.”

Kerri is back down to Earth this weekend with another busy week of almost full didi rugby classes on Wednesday and Saturday at her home club, Kesteven.

Friday didi rugby classes

And there is now the chance to start the weekend early with Friday after-school classes too.

The 3 to 6-year-old’s session at 4.30pm is an ideal platform for children to enjoy didi rugby if parents have really busy or unpredictable weekends but still want their youngsters to enjoy regular classes.

Contact Kerri on kerri.arlando@didirugby.com for more information or to book a taster session.

Read more: didi rugby launches in Burntwood and Willenhall.

Watch: didi rugby ambassador Emily Scarratt talks about the Six Nations and a possible Women’s Lions’ tour…

 

didi rugby Burntwood and Willenhall launches ready to go

A small girl running with a rugby ball in her hand, smiling

The owner of didi rugby Burntwood knows a thing or two about coaching.

Graham Smith earned a World Cup winners medal after being an assistant coach with England Women when they won the tournament in France in 2014.

Safe to say, any children that come to the launch of his new didi rugby classes at Burntwood RFC on Saturday 24 April, will be safe hands.

Graham will also lead the launch of didi rugby Willenhall the following Saturday (1 May) at Willenhall RFC.

A graphic for the launch of didi rugby Burntwood
didi rugby Burntwood

Strong local clubs

“The two clubs we are running the classes at are two very strong local clubs with a good following and a good place in the community,” said Graham. “They have been very supportive in the build-up to the launch and know the value of attracting young children to play the game we all love.”

As a player, Graham enjoyed his time at the Moseley club and became involved with rugby’s governing body, the RFU as a youth development officer in 1993.

He became involved with women’s rugby at Loughborough University in 2003 where he met the eventual World Cup-winning head coach Gary Street – who is also a didi rugby ambassador.

Moulding an England women’s team which involved the likes of a 17-year-old Emily Scarratt and a 19-year-old Sarah Hunter, not to mention the likes of Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt, Maggie Alphonsi and Katy Daly-Maclean, was hard work but good fun.

Founder of didi rugby

The success of that squad was built on a strong work ethic and culture and it left an indelible mark on Graham who is rightly proud of his achievements.

His early days with the England set-up also introduced him to Vicky Macqueen, a tough and talented back who is now the founder and CEO of didi rugby. The two are back together again with another common goal – to bring sporting fun and activity to as many young children as possible.

“I had always kept an eye on what Vicky was up to with didi rugby when I was coaching CN Poble Nou in Barcelona before the pandemic struck so it is great to now work together on trying to bring didi rugby to families in the Burntwood and Willenhall areas,” said Graham.

A graphic promoting the launch of didi rugby Willenhall
didi rugby Willenhall

“I am hoping it is a very positive reaction to the launches,” he said. “I am sure there are loads of parents who are keen to get their kids outside, moving around and having fun after what we have been through with Covid.”

Vicky Macqueen said: “Graham’s record as a coach speaks for itself but he also has a real passion for getting youngsters, not only playing the game but encouraging them to be active and running around.

Local community

“It’s a strong rugby area around Burntwood and Willenhall and I am sure we will get a good reaction from the local community. We can’t wait to get going.”

If your child is between 18 months and six years of age, they can find out more information or book a place at Burntwood RFC on 24 April or Willenhall RFC on 1 May by emailing graham.smith@didirugby.com.

You can also book direct via our website’s ‘find a class’ page.

Read more: Professional rugby referee Sara Cox is didi rugby’s latest ambassador

WATCH MORE:

didi rugby classes are given the green light to return outdoors

A traffic light with a green light on show

didi rugby classes have been given the green light to return to outdoor sessions from March 29.

Provision for schools and nurseries will start three weeks earlier on March 8.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the decision to allow children’s outdoor sport classes when providing the Houses of Parliament with his ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown’ speech on February 22.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said she was delighted with the decision.

“This has been an incredibly hard time for our members at classes around the country,” said Vicky.

Local coaches

“Our little didi stars have missed seeing their friends both at school and at our classes and they have missed interacting with our local coaches who they are used to seeing and having fun with every week.

“And, as a parent of two young boys myself, I know exactly what parents have been going through during this latest lockdown trying to work and homeschool at the same time.

“I am delighted that my own children can return to school from March 8 and I am delighted that our didi rugby classes can re-start outdoors from March 29.”

didi rugby classes saw a huge uplift in numbers after the first national lockdown in 2020 came to an and Vicky says she – and her coaches around the country – are expecting an even bigger uptake this time around.

Sporting activity

“It came as no surprise to us that after being stuck inside for so long during last Spring and early Summer, children and parents were desperate to get back to some organised sporting activity,” said Vicky.

“We made sure that, as soon as we got the green light to return, we had safety procedures in place to offer security to children, parents and our incredible band of coaches.

“When parents saw what we were doing to make our classes as safe as possible, the support and trust we got in return was incredible. Our classes filled up again and we made sure that our part of the bargain also included having lots of fun.

“We have been through the process of starting again from lockdown before so we are primed and ready to get our sessions back up and running again and we can’t wait to see our didi stars and their parents back having some fun and learning with us.

Online activities

“I just want to personally thank our wonderful local coaches, members and ambassadors who have stuck by us during lockdown and supported us by attending the range of online activities we have provided.”

All local coaches will be in touch with current members to inform them of the dates of times of their upcoming classes.

Indoor classes are allowed to resume from April 12.

Anyone parent wanting to book a free taster session for their child can find their local class online at www.didirugby.com under the ‘Find a Class’ tab.

Read more: Schools should be measured on physical activity provision

Watch More:  Can you complete Vicky’s Lockdown Challenge…?

 

 

didi rugby live half-term sessions reaches over 30,000 people

didi ambassador Natasha 'Mo' Hunt

didi rugby’s live online coaching sessions on Facebook during the February half-term reached over 30,000 people.

The ‘didi rugby half-term squad’ offered varied skills sessions every morning at 9am – thanks to Vicky Macqueen from didi rugby Midlands, Vicky Alexander from didi Rugby Cobham, Kerri Arlando from didi rugby Grantham, Ros Wiggins from didi Rugby Stone and Stafford and Keith Smith from didi rugby Cheltenham.

Jodie Ounsley doing a Facebook live broadcast for didi rugby
Jodie Ounsley doing a Facebook live broadcast for didi rugby

 And there was also England international Jodie Ounsley and Wales international and coach of didi Rugby South Wales, Robyn Lock doing Skills and Storytime sessions on Wednesday and Friday evening at 6.00pm.

Add to those figures, the numbers from previous Skills and Storytime live broadcasts by the likes of England internationals, Heather Fisher, Nolli Waterman, Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt and Sarah Hunter mean that over 85,000 people have been reached by didi’s special live broadcasts on Facebook.

didi rugby live

didi rugby CEO and founder Vicky Macqueen said the figures showed just how well didi rugby live had engaged with members and their families during the latest lockdown.

“We knew from the first national lockdown in 2020 that our online offerings gave parents and children a big buzz during what was a difficult time at home for everyone.

“So, we were determined to make sure that we kept our didi stars busy, active and having fun during the latest lockdown too. We pledged to keep our members busy and give them something to look forward to every week and, with the help of our amazing didi rugby ambassadors and our wonderful coaches around the country, we have done that.

Having fun

“Until our classes are allowed to re-start again outside, we will be continuing to make sure our members are engaged and having fun.

“We were determined not just to leave our members to themselves during lockdowns and wanted to give them a chance to engage with their local coaches that they are used to seeing every week, as well as our high-profile ambassadors.

“The feedback we have received from our members has been wonderful and some of the pictures we have been sent of children taking part in our online classes has melted my heart.”

Read more: ‘We are by your side: didi rugby’s pledge to members during lockdown’

WATCH: When will didi rugby classes be back…?

 

Vicky’s Blog – Schools should be measured on physical activity provision

Children complete a didi rugby session at school

Vicky Macqueen is supporting plans for schools to be measured on how much physical activity they provide for kids who have been starved of activity during successive pandemic lockdowns.

If you can show me a parent who has not had to try and cajole their kids into some form of physical activity during this latest lockdown, I’ll be surprised.

Those of us with a back garden or a nearby park have had it easier than those without.

What is fairly obvious is that, as a nation, our children will need to get back to some regular and structured activity as soon as they are allowed back to school and back to classes with organised activity providers.

I have long felt that sports and PE has played second fiddle in terms of priority to more academic lessons in schools. That has been frustrating.

Wellbeing

So, I was delighted to hear that schools could soon be measured over how they prioritise sport, physical activity and wellbeing under new plans to get kids moving again at the end of the lockdown.

Reading about the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Keep Kids Active’ campaign, Government sport minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed that that talks had taken place with the department for education over some form of measurement of a school’s approach to physical activity.

What’s more, those ‘positive’ talks had also been formally backed by Ofsted.

“We are coordinating and trying to push things together,” said Mr Huddleston. “We have heard very positive vibes. They are as keen to get sport and physical activity going again as soon as possible.”

Activity

It’s incredible to think that most of our children have only been in school for three or four months between March 2020 and March 2021.

Hardly surprising then that the physical and mental health of our youngsters has taken a huge hit over the last 12 months.

As the founder and CEO of a children’s sports activity provider like didi rugby, it will come as no surprise that I advocate physical activity, not only to keep our children fit and healthy but to provide them with a positive experience for their mental health too.

I want children to have healthy bodies and healthy minds. Let’s face it, that has been a challenge for us all over the past 12 months.

Lockdown

What is important when lockdown ends and children go back to school is that a genuine commitment to getting them active and having fun is not merely given lip service by schools, Ofsted and the authorities.

Make activities just as important as core curriculum subjects.

And let’s not just give extra time to play sports and do activities during school time, let’s open up school facilities to the local community out of school time too (another of the Telegraph’s aims that I fully support).

If children and parents want to get involved in being active, let there be no barrier to them doing so.

Vaccines

“We are now in the path of re-opening,” said Mr Huddleston. “We want to make sure sport and physical activity is absolutely front in that list.

“With the vaccines rolling out, I think we do have a glidepath to a future that is more optimistic and more sustainable.”

didi rugby is ready and waiting for the green light so let’s hope the schools, supported by the Government and Ofsted are as ready as we are.

After the 12 months we have just had, there is little time to waste. Our children are relying on us.

Read more: Vicky’s Blog – My 2020 felt like it lasted about three years

Watch: Meet our new didi rugby ambassador Jodie Ounsley…