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:

Find a didi rugby class in Suffolk at Ipswich Rugby Club

Find a didi rugby class in Suffolk at Ipswich Rugby Club

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Suffolk at Ipswich Rugby Club. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Ipswich, Leiston, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Snape, Yoxford, Thorpeness, Knodishall, Kelsale, Westleton, Middleton

Ipswich Rugby Club

Humber Doucy Lane
Ipswich
Suffolk
IP4 3PZ

Suffolk classes ran by didi rugby Suffolk

Contact Dale Hoffman – 07597 084142    
dale.hoffman@didirugby.com

A rugby player kicks a rugby ball off the ground

Book a Class

Loading...

Find a didi rugby class in Burntwood and Willenhall at Willenhall Rugby Union FC

Find a didi rugby class in Burntwood and Willenhall at Willenhall Rugby Union FC

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes in Burntwood and Willenhall at Willenhall Rugby Union FC. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Burntwood and Willenhall.

Willenhall Rugby Union FC

25 Bognop Road
Essington
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
WV11 2BA

click here to find out more about didi rugby Burntwood and Willenhall

Contact Graham Smith –  07804 700948 
graham.smith@didirugby.com

A rugby player kicks a rugby ball off the ground

Book a Class

Loading...

Find a didi rugby class in Burntwood and Willenhall at Burntwood Rugby Club

Find a didi rugby class in Burntwood and Willenhall at Burntwood Rugby Club

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes in Burntwood and Willenhall at Burntwood Rugby Club. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Burntwood and Willenhall.

Burntwood Rugby Club

The Sportsway
Chasetown
Burntwood
Staffordshire
WS7 3PH

click here to find out more about didi rugby Burntwood and Willenhall

Contact Graham Smith –  07804 700948 
graham.smith@didirugby.com

A rugby player kicks a rugby ball off the ground

Book a Class

Loading...

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…?

 

 

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

didi rugby ambassador Referee Sara Cox looks to one side and smiles

Professional rugby referee Sara Cox is didi rugby’s latest ambassador.

And she is keen to support classes that will teach youngsters the ‘valuable social skills’ to help them grow as individuals from an early age.

Sara first got involved in rugby when she was 14 and represented local clubs Exeter, Saracens and Cullompton before she retired from playing the game at the age of 17.

Undeterred, Sara qualified as a rugby referee, officiated her first international when Italy played Ireland in 2014, added the World Cup in France to her CV and, in 2016, became the first female ref to be centrally contracted by the English RFU.

Career

In 2020, she was assistant referee at the Bath v Wasps men’s game in the Gallagher Premiership, with her first appointment in the middle of a top tier English game surely only a matter of time away.

While’s Sara’s professional career goes from strength to strength, she is also studying for a MSc at Edinburgh Napier University and is determined to encourage as many youngsters as possible to get involved in didi rugby and learn skills to help them succeed in life.

didi rugby ambassador Sara Cox raises a flag
didi rugby ambassador Sara Cox

“Getting involved in didi rugby at an early age teaches children lots of different things,” said Sara. “It’s less about the rugby at that age and more about the interaction with other kids and learning social skills along the way.

“In all walks of life, at any age, you will always have to deal with other human beings and the earlier you start to learn the skills required to do that, you can carry that on into adulthood.”

Sara Cox

Having been a shining light for women’s progress in rugby, Sara is obviously keen for young girls to take up a sport that has been very good to her.

And she is encouraging girls of any age to take on the challenges that may come their way.

“Humans have challenges in all walks of life and in whatever they do,” said Sara. “We all have hurdles to get over and the challenges do not stop. You have to keep moving with the times and embrace what comes your way.”

Role model

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen says the whole didi rugby team is excited to have Sara on board.

“Not only is Sara a wonderful referee and a great person, she is an inspiration to any youngster taking up the sport,” says Vicky.

“Sara has decided to become a didi rugby ambassador and support our efforts to get young people active and having fun. Her determination is a great example to young people and she is a fantastic role model too. ”

Follow Sara on Twitter here

Read more: ‘We are by your side during lockdown’ – didi rugby’s pledge to parents and youngsters  

Watch…England star Alex Matthews launches didi rugby Worcester:

Vicky’s Blog: “My 2020 felt like it lasted about three years!”

Vicky Macqueen and her team at the launch of didi rugby Worcester with PPE on

didi founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen opens up on an incredible 2020 which has brought untold challenges – but many rewards.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like this year has lasted about three years.

I guess it’s because of the amount of challenges we have faced during the pandemic in 2020, both from a personal and business perspective. Three years’ worth of challenges to overcome…in 12 months.

I am 100% certain I am not alone in feeling that way.

Lost loved ones

Being involved in such a public-facing business as didi rugby, I am fortunate enough to meet some lovely people every week. From speaking to mums, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents, I have heard stories of struggles and difficulties. People have lost their jobs and, even worse, people have lost loved ones too.

The low point of my year came with ongoing grief of the loss of a loved one. Not to Covid – but to cancer. My beautiful niece Jess passed away in late 2019 after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. It is extremely rare in children but she was just nine years old. It was a devastating blow to my family and it has been hard to bounce back in 2020. I’m determined to do what I can to stop other families going through what we have been through and ran the London Marathon to start raising money for research into the condition.

Vicky Macqueen goes through the finishing line after running a marathon
Vicky Macqueen goes through the finish line after running a marathon

The wonderful team here at didi helped me through those tough times and we went on to face many more challenges as a business when the pandemic began to take a hold.

Instead of sitting still when the first national lockdown came about, we quickly developed an online outlet to host our classes. Across the country, our coaches were able to see their didi stars every week. And parents and children alike bought into the ‘new normal’ that we were all trying to get used to. It was great to see and we were able to share some lovely pictures and videos of front rooms, kitchens and gardens being turned into didi classrooms!

Social distancing in 2020

I would like to thank every parent for their help and support during that difficult time. It really meant a lot.

When the Government allowed us to go back to classes with social distancing and reduced numbers, it was important for us not just to tell parents that our covid-safe measures were in place but to show them too.

I remember filming a video which took parents through every step of our measures before, during and after a class and thinking we would have to keep innovating and developing what we did as we welcomed people back.

A coach and child have fun at a didi rugby class
A coach and child have fun at a didi rugby class

That was a really rewarding time to be the CEO of this business. Not only were parents and children supportive and delighted to be back outside, mixing and having fun but our coaches up and down the country were coming up with new ideas every week. They were truly inspirational as work mates and it was great to be a part of.

We shared ideas on best-practice, safety and ways to do new things in classes with reduced numbers. They say ‘necessity is the mother of all invention’ and this spell certainly proved that.

The numbers in our classes grew as the year went on and restrictions dwindled. Thankfully, we were able to continue classes during Lockdown 2.

We also managed to launch new 2020 franchises in places like Walsall, Leicester, Harrogate, and England star Alex Matthews started classes at didi rugby Worcester.

Alex Matthews, wearing didi rugby kit, laughs
didi rugby Worcester head coach Alex Matthews

There is still clearly some way to go until we are over this pandemic. But with a vaccine being rolled out across the country, there is certainly a great deal of hope in 2021.

I am excited about what lies ahead. didi rugby will continue to grow and I am more determined than ever to spread the values of fun, confidence and activity to as many children aged between 18 months and 6 years old as possible. After the year they have had, it’s crucial to keep our kids active.

As parents, coaches, children…humans, we have been resilient, agile, empathetic and compassionate to one another.

If we can all take that into 2021, I am certain better things are just around the corner.

Read more: Listen to the brand new didi rugby pod

WATCH: Take on one of Vicky’s ‘Lockdown Challenges’…

 

Find a didi rugby class in Sutton Coldfield at Harvest Fields Centre

Find a didi rugby class in Sutton Coldfield at Harvest Fields Centre

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Harvest Fields Centres in Sutton Coldfield. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Sutton Coldfield, Hill Hook, Little Aston, Hardwick, Streetly, Four Oaks, Doebank, Meer Green, Wyndley

Harvest Fields Centre

Harvest Fields Way
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B75 5TJ

Sutton Coldfield RFC ran by didi rugby Sutton Coldfield

Contact Dave Lote – 07964 011104    
dave.lote@didirugby.com

A rugby player kicks a rugby ball off the ground

Book a Class

Loading...

Find a didi rugby class in Nottingham at Ruddington St Peter’s Rooms

Find a didi rugby class in Nottingham at Ruddington St Peter’s Rooms

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Ruddington St Peter’s Rooms in Nottingham. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Nottingham, Wilford, Lenton, The Meadows, Lenton Abbey, Ryelands and Clifton.

St Peter’s Rooms

Church Street
Ruddington
Nottingham
NG11 6HD

Ran by didi rugby Nottingham
Contact Marie Chaston – 07853 335425
marie.chaston@didirugby.com

A rugby player kicks a rugby ball off the ground

Book a Class

Loading...

didi rugby Walsall to launch on Saturday 12 December

A poster saying didi rugby Walsall launches on Saturday 12 December
The launch of didi rugby Walsall will take place on Saturday 12 December and head coach Michelle Higgs cannot wait to welcome local children and parents for some free fun and activity.
Handsworth RFC is the host venue for the launch which will see classes for two didi rugby age groups: 18 months to 3 years and 4 years to 6 years.

An extra class for the 18 months to 3 years age group has been put on to satisfy demand.
The local community have reacted so well to the planned start of didi rugby classes that Michelle will be putting on a second free taster weekend the following Saturday with the same times to make sure that everyone can sample a didi rugby day before Christmas.
Memberships will then start after the festive period with regular classes taking place from January 9 onwards.
Head coach Michelle has been playing rugby for 11 years, spent the last six years at Handsworth RFC and has also been coaching girls rugby for the last four years too.

didi rugby Walsall

She has already been part of the didi rugby family for a year, helping to coach in other areas before deciding to launch her own classes.
Michelle said she was looking forward to meeting new faces from Walsall and the surrounding areas and is keen to introduce both parents and children to the values of didi rugby: fun, confidence and activity.
“I enjoy coaching for didi rugby because it’s a different coaching experience to coaching teenagers,” she said.
“Having a run around with the younger children is great. Making the sessions fun and active, seeing them laughing and enjoying themselves, and then watching them improve each week is very rewarding.

Active

“It’s about giving them as much opportunity to be active, healthy and sporty from a young age, which then gives them a great start to a healthy lifestyle as they grow up.
“You get to discover their little personalities and characteristics, and though my job is make to sure they have fun and enjoy our didi sessions, I usually end up walking away just as smiley as they do.
“I absolutely love coaching didi rugby and can’t wait to get going.”
didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen will be there to support the launch and she added: “Michelle already knows didi rugby inside out having been a coach for a year.

Class times

“So she is very experienced and knows just how to make sure that her Walsall classes will teach children to grow in both physical literacy and confidence.
“She has partnered with a club in Handsworth RFC who know her well and have been very supportive in the build up to her launch. We are grateful to the local community too for their support and are excited to see lots of smiling faces.”
Class times are….
9.00-9.40: 18 months to 3 years
9.45-10.25: 18 months to 3 years
10.30-11.10: 4 years to 6 years
** To book your child a free taster sessions, email michelle.higgs@didirugby.com or book online by clicking here.
WATCH: England Rugby star Alex Matthews launches didi rugby Worcester…