didi rugby Sutton Coldfield to launch at Sutton Coldfield RFC

didi rugby Sutton Coldfield's logo

didi rugby Sutton Coldfield will be throwing a launch party to open its doors to the public on Saturday 29 February.

A friendly welcome is guaranteed at Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club and lots of fun and games will be taking place on the day.

Children from the age of 18 months to 6 years of age are welcome and parents are invited to book a place for their child by visiting the didi rugby website.

Regular classes will then begin at the same venue with three separate age groups: 18 months to 3 years, 3 years to 4 years and, finally, 4 years to 6 years.

Head coach of didi rugby Sutton Coldfield, Dave Lote has a huge passion for the sport having worked for the RFU and coached the sport for many years.

He also works for a company called Acti-fit who have just opened an exciting partnership with didi rugby to provide coaches and extended professional coaching qualifications to the men and women who deliver amazing classes up and down the country every week.

There’s more on that, later.

Exciting opportunity

“It’s a really exciting opportunity to get involved with didi rugby,” said Dave.

“We are launching our classes in Sutton Coldfield very soon and we want children to have fun and gain confidence while we deliver our sessions.

“These are exciting times for us.”

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen has known Dave for a long time and worked with him before.

“I am so pleased that didi rugby Sutton Coldfield is launching on February 29,” said Vicky.

“Dave was one of my fellow coaches when we coached at Lichfield together and I have worked alongside him in various roles as a rugby coach educator too.

didi rugby Sutton Coldfield

“I know he is the perfect person to support didi rugby’s progress and development in Sutton Coldfield.

“He is so passionate about rugby and getting children active and he has drive, enthusiasm and a really positive attitude. I cannot see a better person to take the Sutton Coldfield area by storm and do some really good work in the local community.

“And it’s great that the partnership with Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club offers a pipeline through to kids rugby when children become too old for didi rugby classes.”

Four didi rugby coaches go head-to-head in big club clash

Katie Heirene, Ros Wiggins and Mollie Latham put their thumbs up and smile

Four didi rugby head coaches and franchise owners will be going head-to-head on the pitch when Crewe & Nantwich Ladies face Kenilworth Women in the Intermediate Plate on Saturday 9 February.

The owner of didi rugby’s South Warwickshire classes, Kiri Bennett will be making the trip north with her Kenilworth team to take on a Crewe & Nantwich side that contains both Ros Wiggins and Mollie Latham who are coaches in the Stone and Stafford and Lichfield and Cannock areas.

Katie Heirene, Ros Wiggins and Mollie Latham put their thumbs up and smile
Crewe and Nantwich Ladies trio Katie Heirene, Ros Wiggins and Mollie Latham prepare to face fellow didi rugby coach Kiri Bennett in a cup match

The home side will also feature Katie Heirene, who runs both the didi rugby Crewe and Nantwich area as well as classes in Chester.

And with the home side defending the title they won last year, there will be plenty on the line.

Kiri and her Kenilworth team-mates ply their trade in Women’s Championship Midlands 2 and are currently in fourth place, just one point off second.

Seven wins

Crewe & Nantwich play in Women’s Championship North 2 and are also enjoying a superb season with seven wins in 10 games taking them up to second in the table.

Ros says it is a game they have all been looking forward to for a long time.

“Having come second  in the 2018 Intermediate Plate and then going on to win it last year, we are really excited to go through the stages this year and see if we can take the title again,” she said.

“And what has made it even more exciting is the prospect of playing against our didi rugby team-mate, Kiri in this round.”

Kiri added: “I am really excited for the cup match against Crewe and Nantwich. It will be great to play against some fellow didi owners,” she said.

“We are at a similar place in our leagues so it will be really interesting, and I’m sure, very competitive!”

  • Video: England captain and didi rugby ambassador Sarah Hunter speaks at didi rugby’s annual conference…

England captain Sarah Hunter speaks at didi rugby annual conference

Sarah Hunter (left) stands with Vicky Macqueen and Italy international Sara Tounesi

England captain and didi rugby ambassador Sarah Hunter spoke passionately about her career and the personal drive she has needed throughout it when she addressed franchise owners at didi rugby’s annual conference in Hinckley.

The 34-year-old, who has an incredible 119 caps ahead of this year’s upcoming Women’s Six Nations has been a didi rugby ambassador since the early days of the business.

She played the early days of her career with didi rugby CEO and founder Vicky Macqueen when Vicky was coming to the end of her time as an international.

The Loughborough Lightning No.8 said she was happy to break away from her preparations for the Six Nations to address franchise owners from across the UK and give them some ideas of what it takes to get to the top – and try to stay there.

“We spoke about my experience in rugby and how I have managed to achieve a few things but we also spoke about the setbacks I have been through and how sport and business often correlate on that front,” said Sarah.

Ambassador

“It is often a rollercoaster ride overcoming setbacks and then setting goals to remind yourself what you want to achieve and how you are going to get it back on track.

“I feel passionately about didi rugby. It was an easy decision to get involved with it after I had heard Vicky’s ideas.

“When I saw her vision, that sold it for me. Not just for the fundamentals around getting young children to be fit and active – but also to help them interact with other kids. That bigger picture is very important for young children.

“I love rugby and have played since I was nine but I didn’t have that opportunity to play it at a young age. For young children to learn all these skills at didi rugby and catch the rugby bug is important.

World Cup winner

World Cup winner Sarah was awarded an MBE in 2016 for her services to the game and also became World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in the same year.

More recently, she led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam last season, her latest medal in a glittering career.

“It was amazing that Sarah found the time to come and speak to our didi franchise holders at such a busy time for her,” said Vicky.

“She has always been a fantastic advocate of what we are trying to do and we are very grateful for her continued support not only to our classes but also our franchise holders and coaches who are implementing the vision we have to get children active while having fun and growing in confidence.”

  • Howzat? didi cricket classes are launching this month

NEWS: Howzat? didi cricket classes are being launched in January

Two excited children help a didi cricket coach put up cricket stumps in a hall

didi cricket classes are being launched in January with a whole new set of skills available for your child to learn in a fun and relaxed environment.

Following the success of didi rugby over the past 18 months, cricket classes will be lovingly taught against a backdrop of similar goals and values.

The first didi cricket classes are being launched at Stoke Orchard Community Centre, Gloucestershire on 26 January and will be run by an already popular figure in the area, coach Keith Smith.

Fun, games and activities will have a cricket theme for children aged from 18 months to 6 years and involve bats, balls and stumps that are especially made for playing with kids.

Get your kids active, improve their hand/eye coordination, social skills and self confidence in a friendly environment with fully qualified coaches. Held in a great indoor location with a cafe and shop.

If you would like to find out more information or book your child in for a FREE taster session at the Stoke Orchard launch, contact head coach keith.smith@didirugby.com.

Contact info@didirugby.com for national information on didi cricket.

Watch out for more didi cricket venues popping up during 2020 and with limited space available at new sessions, if you would like to secure your child’s place at a class in your area, please email us to register your interest.

‘Running around after didi kids is hilarious and fulfilling’ – didi rugby Reading coach

Two didi female coaches speak to the camera at Reading RFC

didi rugby Reading coaching duo Donna Clark and Clare Swadling explain why their classes are both ‘hilarious’ and ‘very fulfilling’.

Along, with Craig Hunter, the duo have helped build an incredible success story in the Berkshire and Reading area not only for their franchise but for the hundreds of local children at schools and classes in the area.

Those kids are now benefitting from the values that didi rugby promotes and enjoying being active, having fun and gaining in confidence.

Speaking at one of their partner clubs, Reading RFC, ahead of a series of didi rugby sessions, Clare said: “We just want to make sure that the children have a chance to play rugby.

“Running around after small people is hilarious and very fulfilling. They are brilliant to be around and they just love you during the classes. It’s like having a group of puppy dogs! For those 40 minutes, they just idolise you.

50 Classes operating

 

“I love it here and the atmosphere is so different from where I have come from. I think we have 50 classes operating now and we have only been going for 18 months.”

Donna added: “The spread of didi rugby down here has been huge. We have exploded into schools as well and we are offering session every day of the week.

“Those who are too old for didi rugby are moving onto tag rugby and we love that continuity for children to keep them playing the sport.

“We are also involved with special needs schools and have links with the Berkshire Banshees wheelchair team. We try and support all sorts of areas. There’s loads going on.

Reading rugby

 

“We have an excellent relationship here with Reading RFC but it’s one big family and one big network to attract children and their parents into the sport.

“From speaking to the parents, the children love it. They wake up and say: ‘Is it didi rugby today?’.

“There is a real rapport, they enjoy it and that is what makes them want to come back week after week.”

VIDEO: didi rugby Reading co-owners Donna and Craig explain why the didi rugby franchise model has worked for them…

didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen becomes an RFU Level 4 coach

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen smiling after becoming an RFU Level 4 coach

The founder and CEO of didi rugby, Vicky Macqueen, has become an RFU Level 4 coach after 18 months of study.

It means she is one of less than 10 women in the country to hold such a prestigious coaching position, which is designed and delivered by the game’s governing body, the Rugby Union.

She joins fellow Level 4-holders Wasps director of rugby Giselle Mather and soon-to-be Exeter Chiefs Women’s head coach, Susie Appleby, who is also a didi rugby franchise holder.

Although Vicky said she would like to get involved in similar high-level coaching one day, she said her 100% commitment at the moment was to the continued growth of didi rugby.

And she believes that large parts of the information she learned studying to become an RFU Level 4 coach will help grow and improve didi rugby in the future.

“It has been an amazing process with so much to learn and I feel really privileged to have completed it,” said Vicky. “It has taught me a lot in terms of rugby leadership but for didi rugby too because there is lots of coaching, management and psychology involved.

Level 4 coach

“There are so many aspects to achieving Level 4 and it has been a great educational experience for me.

“There is a massive overlap between business and sport and this has bought everything together for me to help enhance didi rugby.

“The growth of didi means I need to be 100% involved in the business and the mentoring of franchise holders at the minute. But I love coaching and being out on the field so taking on a role with a club in the future in definitely in my sights…if I get the time!

Vicky was approached by the RFU to join their coach educator team a couple of years ago and that is another string to her bow in terms of helping and mentoring coaches of the future.

RFU Framework

She was also inviting to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework – released earlier in 2019 – to help clubs focus in on the best ways to develop children’s interest in the sport from a very young age.

didi rugby plays an active part in helping clubs implement that framework and has developed formal links with clubs in England to create a natural pathway for children to keep playing the game when they graduate from didi rugby age groups.

With Vicky designing all of the programmes and care at didi rugby, parents can be assured that their kids are in very good hands and are being taught all of the right things if they come to a didi rugby class.

Book your child in for a free taster session at a didi rugby class around the country: https://didirugby.com/find-a-class/

WATCH MORE: didi rugby’s Vicky Macqueen was thrilled to be invited to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework programme

Please vote and help Rock Star Academy win top Amazon award

Matt Cropp describes Rock Star Academy to Amazon TV

There are only a few days left to help didi rugby director Matt Cropp win the Amazon Small Business of the Year Award.

And we are not afraid to admit that, here at didi rugby HQ, we need your help please!

As well as running didi rugby with Vicky Macqueen and other members of the didi HQ team, Matt owns Rock Star Academy – a business selling musical instruments and teaching people how to play through an online music school.

Many of those products are used by children and many of the values Matt’s business share, sit perfectly alongside the ones promoted by didi rugby.

Instruments encourage kids to come away from computerised devices and help them develop a hobby that tests their brains, physical agility and dexterity, to increase their enjoyment and confidence.

Matt is hugely passionate about what he does, encouraging people to play instruments and strongly advocating ethically-sourced wood for his products. In fact, all of Rock Star Academy’s products are built from wood that is replaced at source.

Amazon Award

Rock Star Academy has been a huge part of his life for a decade and winning the Amazon Award would be a huge achievement.

“Very much like watching children enjoy didi rugby, it’s great to see youngsters having fun and enjoying learning with a musical instrument,” said Matt. “Watching them smile as they progress is lovely to see and so is the confidence they build while doing so.

“You may not play a musical instrument, but I guarantee you have been moved or motivated by someone sharing the music they created,” said Matt.

“If you do play a musical instrument you will know the joy it creates when others hear you play and the hypnotic relaxation it provides when you are solely focused on playing it.

Rock Star Academy

“Music evokes a primeval response in all of us and I believe it’s fundamental to the existence of human culture.

Building a business that contributes to human culture with a positive impact on the environment is an absolute passion of mine.

didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen said: “Matt is such a passionate person, always involving himself in community projects and giving back to support others so it would be great if you could take a minute out of your time to vote for him.”

Rock Star Academy has been shortlisted for the Amazon Small Business of the Year Award. To help lead Matt to success, log on to the link below and vote.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/small-business-of-the-year

Watch more: VIDEO – Matt Cropp describes how he set up didi rugby with Vicky Macqueen.

didi rugby star Robyn Lock beats cancer to make debut for Wales

didi rugby franchise owner Robyn Lock wearing her Wales jersey

Five years to the day after Robyn Lock thought she would never play rugby again, the Ospreys back-rower was included in the Wales Women’s squad to play in this autumn’s internationals.

The didi rugby South Wales franchise owner’s story is one of those that make you sit up and take notice…and then go and tell everyone you know.

didi rugby franchise owner Robyn Lock is interviewed about playing for Wales Women

When Robyn was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2014, she steadfastly refused to let it define her life. Now, she is in line to win a first cap for her country when Wales play Spain in Madrid in early November. There will be plenty of people excited to see the words Robyn Lock will be on the team sheet.

Robyn’s selection will delight everyone who knows her. It will also inspire the hundreds of children and parents who have got to know her while she has taught at the ever-growing amount of didi rugby venues that now operate in south Wales following its launch last year.

“I felt very emotional when the squad was announced,” she said. “Every tackle I made, every extra minute in the gym and every time I said I couldn’t go out with friends because I needed an early night or wanted to work on my game, now seems all worth it.

Lymphoma

 

“It was my mum who pointed out that my call-up came five years to the day after I was diagnosed with lymphoma. When I think back to that time, I was so weak I could hardly walk 10 yards without taking a deep breath. It’s some transformation. I had a good cry when I found out and the realisation kicked in of what I had achieved.

“At first, I didn’t know whether or not to bring up the fact that I had lymphoma all of those years ago – but I want to use my story to hopefully help others.

“To be honest, I am really proud of what I have come through and I hope others who read this story, who may be suffering from something in their lives, can see that something knocked me off of my feet too – but it didn’t stop me being determined to make things better.”

An Ospreys’ regular, Robyn was rewarded for her consistency by being offered a spot in Wales ‘Top Up’ training sessions this summer and then moved up to the extended full squad for the build up to the autumn series where Wales will play Spain, Ireland, Scotland and the Barbarians.

International rugby

 

When the reduced squad was announced, Robyn was told she had earned a place in it and she naturally phoned her mum to tell her before anyone else.

Jaine Lock had been a huge part of her recovery from the initial diagnosis and was probably as proud as her daughter at the news that she had just become an international rugby player.

A nutritionist and personal trainer, Jaine moved back from New Zealand to become her daughter’s full-time carer after hearing news of her cancer five years ago.

At the time, she returned to see Robyn suffering from severe fatigue, struggling to sleep and itching all over her body. Six months of chemotherapy also saw her lose her hair.

Chemotherapy

 

The chances of Robyn ever having the energy to even walk onto a rugby field again, let alone make tackles and take hits seemed a mile away at the time.

“That had been taken away from me,” said Robyn. “I didn’t even feel well enough to go and watch a game because my immune system had been shot to pieces by chemotherapy. By this time, I was on all sorts of pills and was having panic attacks too. A real sense of doom took hold of me.

“But I also did not want cancer to be my identity. I didn’t want to be the girl with cancer. Rugby was my identity, right from a young age when I used to go and watch my dad and brother play and I didn’t want to lose that.

“My mum sat me down one day and asked: ‘What else do you want to do while you are battling this?’ and I told her that I wanted to play rugby again and come back fitter and stronger than when I left it.

“I was so lucky to have her and my family with me. Mum told me that she would never let me give up on that dream and she never let me lose that drive. She was true to her word.”

Beaten cancer

 

Robyn’s last chemotherapy session came in April 2015 and she went into remission. Her strength and energy slowly came back and her return to rugby came in the form of the Ospreys 7s training.

One day, after a particularly fast sprint in one session, a team-mate shouted: “Ah look…Lock’s back!”

It meant more to Robyn than her team-mate could ever know. She had beaten her cancer and the world was, once again, her oyster.

Wales begin their autumn series on November 3 in Madrid and if Robyn makes her debut she will be standing proud in a red jersey singing the national anthem with more reasons than most to shed the odd tear or two.

“I have watched my friends play for Wales and cheered them on for years, now I could be standing next to them and giving it all on the field. After what has happened, it really will be a dream come true,” she said.

Robyn Lock is co-owner of didi rugby South Wales and hosts classes in: Llanelli, Sketty, Swansea, Port Talbot, Gendros, West Cross, Neath, Glais and Ammanford. Book your child a free taster session here.

Read more: Tommy is thriving at didi rugby despite having Hypermobility Syndrome

Watch: VIDEO – Robyn Lock writes children’s book for didi rugby called: Dougie Can Catch

 

didi rugby Grantham to launch at Kesteven Rugby Club

Children enjoy a didi rugby class ahead of the launch of didi rugby Grantham at Kesteven Rugby Club

Children enjoy a didi rugby class ahead of the launch of didi rugby Grantham at Kesteven Rugby Club

There will be plenty of fun and games to be had when didi rugby Grantham opens its doors to the public with a launch event on Saturday 16 November at Kesteven Rugby Club.

It will be the start of a new franchise which is being run by local resident Kerri Arlando.

Beginning at 9.00am, free taster sessions are on offer to anyone who wants to come along and see what didi rugby is all about as we try to spread the values of fun, confidence and activity throughout Lincolnshire and beyond.

Each one of the three didi rugby age groups will have a session on the day and they cover 18 months to 3 years, 3 years to 4 years and 4 years to 6 years of age.

Regular classes will then begin the following Saturday (23rd) from 9.00am and midweek sessions will also kick off on Wednesday mornings at 9.30am from 27 November.

‘didi rugby is perfect’

 

Understandably, Kerri can’t wait to get things up and running with didi rugby Grantham at a club she already has strong links with.

Kerri still plays rugby and coaches the Under-11s, meanwhile husband Dimitri coaches the Under-13s. And with two boys Leonard (12) and Alfred (10) playing the game too, rugby features heavily in the Arlando family’s weekly routine.

But with her own children growing up fast, Kerri says she misses the interaction of the little ones and so, with a high demand for something like didi rugby in the area, she decided to set up a franchise.

“didi rugby is perfect for what I want to do,” said Kerri. “It is something I can do when they kids are at school and is something that I really love because I love coaching the little kids. They are so funny and I know that my forte.

“We have had lots of parents asking how old you have to be to join the club at Kesteven but we do not have anything below our under-6s, so didi rugby can get them involved from a very young age.

Kesteven Rugby Club

 

“Lots of parents at the club have got small children and as soon as they find out that didi rugby is here, I am sure they bring their kids along as well. I am hoping it is going to be really good.”

didi rugby founder and CEO, Vicky Macqueen, said that Kerri’s passion for what she is doing is obvious.

“Kerri loves what she does and she is a well-known and popular figure around the area so we are all sure she will create a cracking atmosphere for little ones to come along and have some fun and learn some new skills.”

To book your child on for a free taster session at Kesteven on launch day or any of the other classes on offer, by visiting here

Read more: Super Tommy is thriving at didi rugby despite the challenges of Hypermobility Syndrome 

Watch: VIDEO – didi rugby launches partnership with the Burford Academy in style

Find out more about Kesteven Rugby Club by visiting their website

New didi rugby classes starting at Old Newtonians RFC very soon

A collage of didi rugby pictures featuring the Old Newtonians logo in the top left hand corner

A collage of didi rugby pictures featuring the Old Newtonians logo in the top left hand corner

New didi rugby classes will be starting at Old Newtonians RFC in Leicester Forest East soon.

Steve Carter will be driving the sessions at what is a real family club whose junior section has grown at a rapid rate in recent years.

Old Newts (as they are better known locally) have an under-7s and 8s tag set-up, a thriving under-11s and a good micros set-up too.

“There has been no junior rugby at Old Newts for 25 years and we are growing our academy for 4 to 11-year-olds all the time,” said Steve.

“We have had a lot of young children starting with us at the age of four or five and many of them have younger brothers or sisters with them so we wanted to get something set up so they could play too.

Feeding the academy

 

“didi rugby is perfect for that and it will hopefully go on to give us a pipeline of children feeding the academy.

“We are all looking forward to getting didi classes up and running. We are a real family club with a family feel to it and there is a great atmosphere here with lots of members of various families being involved in the club from seniors down to juniors.”

Didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said: “Steve is very keen to get things up and running at Old Newtonians and we are delighted to have such a lovely club involved in hosting didi rugby classes.

“There is a really good family feel about Old Newts and I am sure it will be an ideal place to host didi classes here in Leicestershire.”

Details about when they new classes will be held will be announced soon.

Watch more: VIDEO – Super Tommy Oliver is thriving at didi rugby despite suffering from Hypermobility Syndrome

Read more: Daughter Charlotte’s love of rugby helps didi rugby Nottingham get ready for launch