Didi family enjoy putting on a great show at Wasps RFC

Didi children, parents and coaches enjoyed a day out to remember at Wasps RFC.

While the Aviva Premiership title-chasing home side were preparing to beat London Irish 24-16 on home turn at The Ricoh Stadium in Coventry, dozens of visitors representing didi Rugby were putting on an “awesome show” in the fans’ village.

Didi Rugby owner Vicky Macqueen said she was incredibly proud as children from classes from all over the Midlands – and even some from Hertfordshire – showed off their skills in a demonstartion.

“It was awesome display from our didis at Wasps,” said Vicky. “Children from all over the Midlands were there and it was great to see some from Hertfordshire venturing up for the occasion too.

Didi Rugby children and parents enjoy the fans’ village at Wasps’ Ricoh Arena

Showing off their skills

“It was lovely to have them all together and they put on an awesome display. They were showing off their skills and displaying great team work and friendship with their little team mates.

“We had lovely comments from parents who were with their children, and people just watching to see our didi stars in action.

“Well done to everybody involved, coaches, players, parents, Hannah Faulds and the Wasps staff who all made the occasion so special for us.”

Vicky Macqueen’s Blog

Vicky Macqueen’s Blog

It’s always time to take stock as the calendar year comes to an end and, personally, it has been truly rewarding seeing the growth of the didi Rugby during 2017.

Not only in terms of the growth within our own country, but with the amount of interest we have had from abroad too.

I believe passionately in what we are doing so the idea of spreading the word far and wide, across the oceans, is something that really excites me. Let’s spread the love.

Domestically, in the UK, we have welcomed a new franchise in Swansea run by Robyn and Andrew Lock, one in Ascot & Windsor run by Hannah Field and most recently one in Reading run by Craig Hunter.

Swansea launches in early December and Ascot & Windsor will be getting underway early in the New Year, as will our New Zealand branch of didi Rugby, based in Canterbury.

We are looking forward to creating exciting and well-attended launches to support all of the hard work that the guys have put into setting them up.

We are just putting the finishing touches to confirming some big-name ambassadors to support Swansea too so watch this space.

We have begun classes in Reading recently at Westwood Farm Schools and there will be more to come in areas like: Bedfordshire, Isle of Man, Brighton, Bromley (London) and Staffordshire in 2018.

I am so excited to give more children across the UK and abroad the opportunity to be a part of didi Rugby. I have seen the physical, social and developmental benefits as both a mum, a hands-on coach and also from a didi Rugby founder point of view. I am so pleased with the positive effects on the children involved and the feedback we have been receiving has been fantastic.

Our online shop has now launched – watch out for our January sale!

This will allow anyone to click onto didi Rugby and purchase our kit and range of accessories. We pride ourselves in not making kit compulsory for children but it is funky and cool – if I do say so myself! Our accessories like water bottles, balls, and bags are proving very popular.

Also growing is our list of didi Rugby ambassadors who have put their name to our business because they believe in the values that we are spreading through our classes.

These ambassadors work hard to attend local classes and make themselves available for presentations and holiday camps when they have time. We are truly grateful to each and every one of the following: Sarah Hunter, Natasha “Mo” Hunt, Emily Scarratt, Geordan Murphy, Scott Hamilton, Sam Harrison, Harry Ellis, Justine Lucas, Louis Deacon, Graham Rowntree, George Chuter, Maggie Alphonsi, Vicky Fleetwood, Matt Elliott, Rosemary Conley and Gary Street.

There are more to come over the coming months too and I am sure 2018 will be an exciting time for anyone involved with didi Rugby!

Yorkshire launch is a real family affair

A new didi Rugby franchise has just launched in Yorkshire and, in a close-knit county, it is no surprise that this is a real family affair.

Husband and wife Pete and Emma Cutress are ploughing their passion for the sport of rugby into the new set-up and have a vested interest in making it a success…because their own kids will be getting involved too.

“I am so excited about the launch of didi Yorkshire as this gives the opportunity to share my passion and enthusiasm for providing a safe, fun environment for children to grow, learn and develop key skills in,” said Emma.

“Having two small children ourselves, this kind of active class for youngsters is something which is really important to me because it encourages them to develop confidence in not only themselves but their ability to make new friends and overall, have fun!

“It is a great opportunity for parents to meet and build new friendships too, something which is vital when you have little ones ruling the house!

“didi Rugby is the kind of group which is helping my children to shine and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it has on others too.”

Yorkshire launch is a real family affair

Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

Coming from a family with an older brother and sports-loving father, much of Emma’s childhood was spent on the sidelines cheering on, one or the other.

She soon realised the value of sport, not only on a community but for its ability to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Now, with two children of their own, Emma, Pete and the kids love a walk and they swim as often as possible.

Inspired by the success of didi Rugby founder Vicky Macqueen in her home county of Leicestershire, Emma and Pete are determined to make their didi base just as popular and entertaining for the young children in Yorkshire.

“Having watched Vicky’s passion turn didi Rugby into such a success in her hometown, it seemed like the obvious next step for us,” she said.

“Pete and I have been keen to ensure that our children grow up happy, confident and healthy, whilst understanding the importance of fun in everything they do – and now it’s going to be our job!”

Vicky’s Blog: BBC cameras arrive as didi franchise venues take centre stage

The first few weeks of 2018 have been really busy for didi Rugby and I have feel like I have seen most parts of the country at least once.

But it has been ‘good busy’ because the growth of didi franchises across the UK is great to see.

In a short matter of time, we have launched didi bases in ReadingSwansea and Ascot and there were some really good things going on at all of them.

Our Swansea set-up was quickly welcoming the BBC cameras in to film a piece with owner Robyn Lock as she was surprised by former Wales international Gareth Thomas’ visit to a didi class. He was filming a piece which went on BBC Wales’ introduction to the Six Nations and he recognised Robyn with some Six Nations tickets for her services to the sport.

If that wasn’t good enough, Gareth then agreed to become an ambassador for didi Swansea to help spread the word.

In Reading, World Cup winner Alex Matthews has got on board as an ambassador and there is another big star on their way who we can announce shortly.

Wales star Gareth Thomas surprises Robyn Lock at didi Swansea

Well attended classes

The launch parties at Ascot and Windsor were incredible and there has already been great growth in the area with some very well-attended classes.

There have been many people approaching us to talk about franchise opportunities. And while we want to spread the didi family far and wide, we also want to make sure that we work with the right people and with people who are passionate and driven for the long haul, not just in the short term.

We want to make sure that every didi Rugby franchise that gets going carries the same ethos as the rest of them and delivers the same success stories up and down the country.

Next up are launches in Yorkshire and Bedfordshire which lots of people are looking forward to and we have newly-designed didi kit and leisure wear coming soon too.

The growth of the business is one thing, but it has also been rewarding to see the impact we are having on children’s health and well-being too.

Watching those who have visited us with their mums and dads grow in skill-set and confidence has been fantastic to see and we are determined to spread that growth far and wide over 2018.

Here’s to another busy 11 months. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

VIDEO: didi rugby invited to advise RFU on structure of newly-released Early Years Guidance Framework

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen appearing in the new RFU video

didi rugby are delighted to have been part of the working group that has led to the launch of the new Rugby Union (RFU) framework for England Rugby Early Years Guidance.

Every RFU-affiliated club in England will now receive a copy of the Guidance Framework.

The game’s governing body are aware of the significance of building a pipeline of rugby players from a young age and have responded to the fact that clubs around the country are starting to show a keen interest in working with the 18 month to five years age group.

As a result, the RFU have been a developing practical guidance and information for clubs and providers. They invited didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen to be part of the working group that has contributed to the final document because didi rugby is already a well-respected nationwide provider for that age group.

Vicky was also invited to appear in the RFU’s official video (above) to promote the guidance.

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen appearing in the new RFU video

didi rugby runs classes for children aged 18 months to six years nationwide and has links in place with clubs all over the country to help provide a stream of able and confident youngsters for clubs’ mini sections when they become too old for didi rugby.

Vicky said: “It’s really important to make sure that children are healthy, active and confident and this is all about putting a framework in place to hopefully achieve this.

“It has been great to be able to add my experience and contribute to this framework. Now there is a guideline out there that clubs can access and come to people like us to ask if we can deliver it for them because they want it doing at a high standard.

“didi rugby classes develop skills like movement, agility, listening, communication and working with others and we have loved seeing the results of our sessions over the past three years.

“Ultimately, it’s about making sure the children and their parents are all getting a great education, being passionate about physical activity and getting more people involved in the wonderful game of rugby.”

The RFU’s Kids First Development Manager Adam Cottingham hoped that providers who offer well-considered activities while displaying rugby’s core values, will encourage children and their parents to develop a love for the sport.

“England Rugby Early Years Guidance was created to provide a club or provider with guidance and information on how to create safe, enjoyable age and stage-appropriate activity for children aged 18 months to five years.

“This piece of work was pulled together in conjunction with experts in the field to ensure that any guidance we created was usable and easily understood.

“England Rugby want any activity at this age group to be fun, first of all, and to foster a love for sport, physical activity and rugby union.”

didi rugby are fully behind the England Rugby Early Years Guidance and are available to consult, offer advice, set-up and run classes within rugby clubs around the country.

For further information to see how we could work with your club, contact Vicky Macqueen on (07812) 082375 or email Vicky@didirugby.com.

To see how didi rugby’s partnership with local clubs have improved their minis section, watch these videos with the chairman of Coventry RFC and Hinckley RFC.

Vicky’s Blog: Almost 10% of four to five-year-olds are obese – and we must act now.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen writes about some new figures from the National Child Measurement Programme which shows a worrying percentage of young children are obese.

It really is a startling fact.

Latest statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme show that almost 10% of four to five-year-olds in England are obese.

As the owner of a business that tries to encourage children of that age to be active and healthy, it’s a fact that really hit home.
Clearly, as a country, we need to be doing more.

Not just because the benefits of being active will help kids avoid becoming part of that 10% right now. But also because it can help them avoid some really serious issues in later life.

The pull of computer games can add to childhood obesity levels

Childhood obesity

Reacting to those figures, a well-respected doctor, who is battling to reduce childhood obesity, is warning that children in England are already developing life-threatening illnesses because the issue is not being tackled properly by the Government.

Dr William Bird MBE has been a GP in Reading for the last 25 years.

“Something is going badly wrong. Childhood obesity didn’t exist 100 years ago. It’s a man-made creation,” he told Sky News.

“What we are seeing is in the fat cells in the body, particularly in the tummy, they create inflammation which attacks the brain and arteries and that leads to diabetes, dementia even, depression and anxiety and cardiovascular diseases.”

None of us want those conditions to emerge in just one child, let alone what must be a staggering number of children who are classed as obese under these findings.

While Dr Bird criticises the Government for not doing more, it is down to parents to up their game too. Governing parties can put any number of schemes and ideas forward as ways to keep our youngsters active – but parents are the ones who make the decisions as to what activities will be done as a family.

Fun element

I honestly believe there has to be a fun element in every activity we get our children to do, especially in the four to five-year-old age group we are talking about in this study.

If exercise is boring, they just won’t want to do it again. I can vouch for that because of my two young boys.

Hopefully by encouraging and implementing activity from a young age, our children will get used to having fun while being active.

And we can start to see a reduction in the numbers of obese children which, incidentally, doubles by the time they reach 10 to 11-year-olds in this study.

What is didi rugby? Watch our video to find out

What is didi rugby?

Watch this video to learn more about didi rugby and find out why our classes provide the ideal start for getting young children active and healthy, while having fun and picking up confidence and key skills along the way.

See action from some of our classes covering all age groups from 18 months to 3 years, 3 to 4 years and 4 to 6 years of age.

Hear from parents whose children have been part of the didi rugby experience and have plenty of good things to say about how classes have helped their children develop in more ways than one.

  • “It’s a really good form of exercise for them and it incorporates all sorts of games and that is why they enjoy it so much.”
  • “It is not strict and they know they are going there to have fun.”
  • “It’s not just about the game of rugby, it’s about learning how to be with other children and that is really good for them.”
  • “Their confidence has really grown, not just in terms of their sporting abilities but them as little people and how they interact with others.”

Listen to founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen explain some of the benefits that didi rugby has given to children who have taken part in classes.

didi rugby Reading celebrate an amazing year of growth with inaugural Presentation Day

The didi rugby Reading team have celebrated an amazing year of growth by holding its first franchise Presentation Day at Reading RFC.

Owners Craig Hunter, Donna Clark and Clare Swadling have seen classes grow at an incredible rate in the area while formal links have been built with local clubs like Aldermaston, Reading and Thatcham.

The team is starting to work with Crowthorne RFC soon too.

didi rugby Reading’s inaugural presentation day attracted over 45 children from their classes, along with parents and relatives who played their part in a day of fun, activities, certificates…and burgers!

“We are delighted that so many people came along,” said Craig. “We have had some positive feedback from the parents and some lovely comments on social media too.

A girl is happy at didi rugby Reading’s Presentation Day

School sessions

“We are hopeful of making it an annual event now.”

didi rugby Reading host 21 sessions a week at schools and venues across Berkshire and visitors on the day came from across that area.

“We held didi sessions for all three age groups on the day,” said Craig. “Every child got a didi medal at the presentations and we had a fantastic barbecue and photos afterwards.

The certificates were presented by Will Cowen who has been selected to represent GB at the Tumbling World Championships in Tokyo later this year.

Role model

Craig said: “William is a fantastic athlete having achieved 5 National titles and 3 World gold medals at tumbling. He is the ideal role model for didi rugby Reading and everything we do.

“He needs support to get to Tokyo and we intend to help him as much as we can.”

“Thanks to John Newport, who took some great pictures for us. Andy Swadling and Roger Clark who did the barbecue – and our wonderful coaches Caitlin Clark, Joe Clark, Jeni Kingman and Andy Lester.

“Our coaches are fantastic people. They are all like-minded and we are always looking for more of them.”

didi rugby wins ‘Award For Excellence’ from Lifestyle Magazine

It has been a wonderful week for the didi Rugby team after the company picked up an award from a lifestyle magazine.

The Living in the Shires Magazine has presented didi Rugby with an ‘Award of Excellence’ for the ‘Tried and Tested Activity of the Year’.

Living in the Shires has a readership of over 30,000 people and it read by over 3,000 businesses.

The award is given for a high quality of service that the magazine believes didi offers to thousands of children and parents.


Honour to receive the award

Owner Vicky Macqueen said it was an honour to receive it.

“It is a fantastic feeling to get honoured for what you do and I am extremely grateful to the Living in the Shires Magazine for giving us recognition.

“The magazine is a well-respected part of the community covering business, lifestyle and leisure and for them to pick didi out of dozens of nominations is a huge feather in our cap.

“I am very proud of the team behind didi Rugby and for the coaches who promote our values around the country in our classes. This award is for all of you.”

didi rugby Reading joins the team!

We are thrilled to annouce didi Rugby Reading have joined the didi UK team under the awesome leadership of Craig Hunter.  Craig is currently Mini/Junior Chairman of Reading RFC, after five years of Club Chairman, his commitment and dedication to Reading Rugby Club is second to none.

Vicky – Founder of didi Rugby – said
” I am so excited to launch didi Rugby Reading with Craig Hunter at the helm, I know his passion and enthusiasm will ensure all the little ones of Reading get the opportunity to enjoy didi Rugby, and therefore get lots more children physically active and involved in our wonderful game!”

Craig said

“I was involved with football ever since I can remember and playing rugby was not really on the radar until the latter part of my time at secondary school, when I joined Reading RFC as a 14-year-old.

That was 41 years ago. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to play for Reading RFC from Under-15s through to Colts and 1st XV level and have also represented Berkshire at Colts level too.

I retired from playing due to injury but I continued my connection and have been part of running the club in many capacities, mostly in a voluntary capacity.

I have had the privilege of being club chairman for five years and over the last three years, I have held the post of youth chairman; this most recent role is something I have really enjoyed; watching the young future players learning to develop and love the sport.

didi rugby Reading joins the team!

Over this time I have witnessed how rugby and its core values, TREDS – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship – have literally changed lives and created life-long friendships, not only at Reading but across the world. My recent trip to New Zealand to watch the British & Irish Lions reinforced this!

At Reading RFC, we provide many variations of the game for boys, girls, men and women – the latter through a highly successful girls section, which is growing all the time.

Over the last few years, we have added Walking Rugby, and currently I am involved in developing Berkshire Banshees Wheelchair Rugby Club, for the county of Berkshire and surrounding areas.

Like many clubs, we provide youth rugby from the age of Under-6, however one area we have not managed to cater for is the Under-5s – until now that is.

Having been introduced to Vicky Macqueen and didi Rugby, I firmly believe what she is offering is an excellent developmental programme for children from 18 months through, until they start at Under-6s or Under-7s at club rugby.

I am delighted to announce that didi Rugby is coming to Reading and will be launched in February 2018, at Reading RFC and the surrounding areas. The aim is to offer educational, developmental and fun sessions to as many young children (boys and girls) as possible, to help start their love of sport and activity.

This is open to all children from 18 months; you don’t need to be from a rugby family and may know nothing about the sport, but if you are looking for something to engage and excite your children from an early age, why not let them have a go and have a little taste of the sport we love so much?

We invited Geraldine Ross – Head of Schools Westwood Farm Schools Federation – to let us know what she thought of a taster session we held at a school recently.