Exciting new start for didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

Wearing didi rugby tops, Vicky Macqueen and James O'Ryan smiling towards the camera.

The new team at didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley are getting classes across their area into full swing this term.

Following a successful launch back in December 2021, sessions are now running at Clitheroe RFC and Mellor Village Hall and Field, Blackburn (see below for booking details).

New classes will also begin at Pleckgate High School Dance Studio in Blackburn from Saturday 12 February (see below for booking link).

Sessions are for children aged 18 months to 6 years of age.

Wearing didi rugby tops, Vicky Macqueen and James O'Ryan smiling towards the camera.
James O’Ryan (left) and Vicky Macqueen at the launch of didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley.

The classes are run by the rugby fanatic O’Ryan family: John, James and Sam.

They are all determined to spread their love and passion for the sport, encouraging young children to get involved, get active, build confidence and most importantly, have fun. 

didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

“It’s been really exciting. We’ve had so much fun building and planning for it.” James said. 

“It has been weeks in the planning process and we’re so happy classes are now up and running!” 

John has twice received commendations from the Rugby Union for his services to community rugby for mini and youth engagement and for engagement and for promotion of girl’s rugby opportunities. 

“I’ve been coaching for about 15 years in all different age groups” he said.

Clitheroe RFC

 “I’ve been embedded in the Blackburn and Clitheroe area, helping out at all the schools and different coaching facilities we have here.” 

didi rugby CEO, Vicky Macqueen, attended the launch and said:  “I have been so impressed the level of planning that has gone into this. The amount of effort the guys have put into the launch is amazing.

“Now regular classes are up and running, I am certain John, James and Sam will do a great job of introducing our wonderful sport to youngsters in the area.”

To find out more about attending classes, visit our ‘find a class’ page to book your free taster session at any of our venues.

READ MORE:  Find out more about the launch of didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley. 

WATCH: Manu Tuilagi joins the didi rugby family as an ambassador.

didi rugby Devon classes to launch from February 2022

didi rugby Devon coach Paul Tearle

didi rugby is delighted to announce the launch of classes in Devon in mid-February 2022.

The announcement represents more good news for parents of children in the south west of England, following the launch of sessions in Cornwall in the summer of 2021.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen says she is delighted to be bringing fun, excitement and activity to a rugby-mad corner of the country.

Paul Tearle and Gemma Carnegie will be heading up the new classes and the launch will take place at Crediton RFC on Saturday 19 February between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Crediton RFC

 

It’s a club that is dear to the heart of Paul, who started playing rugby aged 11.

“I have been a two-club man all my life and they are Crediton RFC and Sheffield Tigers RFC,” he said.

didi rugby Devon coach Paul Tearle
didi rugby Devon coach Paul Tearle

“Now back at Crediton, I’m threatening to put my boots back on at some point!”

Paul works as the PE teacher in the local comprehensive school and has already built fantastic links between the school and the club, sharing facilities, coaches and creating a pathway for those that enjoy the game at school and want to develop further at the club.

Teaching

 

As well as teaching, he also 20 years of experience working at a successful holiday camp for children aged 3-15 which was recently voted ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted after its latest inspection.

“Having met many inspirational people through the sport of rugby, the opportunity to be involved with didi rugby materialised through meeting people with a shared passion for the game and its values,” Paul added.

“Integrating my background of teaching and business and love for the game made it an easy decision to take on a didi franchise in the hot-bed of rugby here in Devon.

“With two primary-aged children of my  own, I am familiar with the challenges of parenting and getting involved with didi will offer many parents locally another outlet for children to develop and flourish in a safe and positive environment.”

Vicky Macqueen

Fellow coach Gemma is head of PE at a secondary school and has been teaching for 20 years.

She’s also been playing for two decades too and says she is a strong advocate of England Rugby’s core values of team work, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.

Theme which Vicky Macqueen highlighted were also driving factors behind the didi rugby ethos too.

“Paul and Gemma are going to bring lots of energy and enthusiasm to our didi rugby Devon classes and that is exciting for all involved,” she said.

“They have both got plenty of experience in teaching and a love of the game which they will pass on to the children and parents who are going to be coming to their classes.

“We have loved bringing our ethos of fun, activity and confidence to the children in Cornwall over recent months and Devon is another powerhouse of rugby activity so I am sure there will be many parents keen to start their children’s rugby journey at a young age and get them running around having fun at our classes.

“To be launching at Crediton RFC is great too. It’s a strong part of what we do as a business to build links with clubs local to our classes so that we can provide a natural pathway for kids to keep on enjoying the sport when they become too old for didi at the age of six.”

*** To book your child’s free taster session at the launch of didi rugby Devon please email – paul.tearle@didirugby.com ***

Read more:  didi rugby Cornwall flies out of the blocks in Truro.

WATCH: What is didi rugby…?

 

Wales international Jasmine Joyce takes over didi rugby South Wales classes

The new owner of didi rugby South Wales, Jasmine Joyce runs with the ball in a red jersey

Hugely popular Wales international rugby star Jasmine Joyce will be the new lead of all didi rugby South Wales classes in the 2022.

Current sessions will remain in place across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot and Jasmine is intending to add new venues to our offering in Wales throughout the New Year.

Jaz represents her country at 7s and XVs and was recently a big part of the GB team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

She plays for the Bristol Bears in the English Premiership and has taken part in the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

The new owner of didi rugby South Wales, Jasmine Joyce runs with the ball in a red jersey
The new owner of didi rugby South Wales, Jasmine Joyce

didi rugby is delighted to have such a well-known, talented and committed player join our winning team.

Jasmine takes over from Robyn Lock and Andrew O’Sullivan who are moving onto other ventures having done an amazing job of building up our didi rugby classes and spreading our values across south Wales over the past few years.

Jasmine Joyce

The founder and CEO of didi rugby, Vicky Macqueen, said she was excited to be working with someone who has unbridled passion for the game and getting more youngsters involved.

“It’s great that Jasmine Joyce has decided to join the didi family,” she said.

“She will bring a huge amount of passion to her classes and I am sure there will be lots of coaches in Wales who are going to learn so much from her.

“I am also certain that children who attend our classes in Wales will benefit from her knowledge, enthusiasm and experience.

didi rugby South Wales

“Jasmine is such a well-known star in Wales that I am sure there will be plenty of parents keen to meet her at classes too!

“We would like to thank Robyn and Andrew for all they have done for didi rugby in Wales and wish them all the best for their futures.”

didi rugby South Wales sessions will end for the festive period on December 19 and resume again on January 10.

  • Book your child’s place at any of our classes across the didi rugby South Wales offering by emailing info@didirugby.com
  • Find out where Jasmine’s classes will be held by visiting our ‘Find a Class’ page.

WATCH: What is didi rugby?

 

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…

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…

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…?

 

 

The ‘didi rugby pod’ is out now on Spotify, iTunes and more

didi podcast logo featuring mascots dougie and daisy

The much-anticipated first episode of the brand new ‘didi rugby pod’ is out now!

We are delighted that England captain Sarah Hunter was able to join us and talk about our wonderful sport right bang in the middle of England’s battles in the autumn internationals.

Sarah has been a didi rugby ambassador since the early days of the service and she explains why she is as keen as ever to stay involved in spreading the values of didi rugby to children all over the country.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen brings listeners up to date with what has been an incredible year for the business as support has flowed in despite the constraints of a deadly pandemic.

Spotify and iTunes

The didi rugby pod is presented by former Sky Sports and current Women’s Rugby Pod host, Johnnie Hammond and he is joined by other parents who have some cracking stories to share about their youngsters.

You can listen to the pod here on our website or via all of the usual podcast platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Acast and Amazon Music.

Book your child in for a free taster session at a didi rugby class near you

Read more: Hear Zachary’s heart-warming story from didi rugby Leicester

WATCH: England and Worcester Women’s star Alex Matthews launches didi rugby Worcester soon….

A letter about lockdown from didi founder Vicky Macqueen

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen
Dear didi family,
 
While there is so much worry and uncertainty around about a second lockdown in England, I just wanted to reassure you that we will be right by your side throughout the next four weeks.
 
We are currently waiting for confirmation from the Government regarding our ability to deliver safe, face-to-face classes with you and your children.
didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen
didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen

 

It’s the outcome we ALL want to see and, if we are allowed to do so, we will carry on as normal.
 
BUT… if we are unable to do so, we will be moving to an online delivery to keep classes on and to keep your children engaged and active during the lockdown period. 
 
Where possible, online classes will be delivered by your local coach or franchise holder from your local area so your children will see a face they recognise and can relate to. 

Fantastic fun

 
We have had a huge didi meeting to share ideas and best practice to make our classes the very best they can be.
 
Having put on some fantastic fun sessions during Lockdown 1, we have now got plenty of experience.
 
Our coaches are primed and ready to go. Sessions can be activated from any device. You just need to find enough space to have some fun and games in your own home! 
 
The country may be locked down 🔐 – but there will be no ‘restriction of movement’ of our online didi classes. 🙌
 
As always, didi HQ as well as your local coaches, will keep you updated over the next few days.
 
Thank you and stay safe.
 
#didifamily
 
Vicky Macqueen (didi rugby CEO and founder) 😀
WATCH: Helping our parents get fit and fight Covid…