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…

NEW didi rugby Worcester launch date revealed for December

Alex Matthews will lead didi rugby Worcester

didi rugby Worcester will launch at Worcester RFC on Saturday 5 December from 9am.

The original November date had to be postponed because of the second national lockdown in England.

Worcester Warriors and England star Alex Matthews will be at the helm of the new venture.

Alex, her coaching team, didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen and Worcester RFC cannot wait to get going and start bringing the fun, games and values of didi rugby to the parents and children in the area.

Alex Matthews will lead didi rugby Worcester
Alex Matthews will lead didi rugby Worcester

Free taster sessions will be available for all age groups (18 months to 6 years) for those parents wanting to give us a try on the launch day.

“I have already seen the power of didi rugby and seen how children learn so much from it,” said Alex.

Worcester RFC

“It gets them active and they always have fun. It’s a tremendously well-run and well-organised programme at didi and I am really looking forward to getting involved.”

Worcester RFC chairman Steven Lloyd said: “It’s great to have didi rugby at Worcester RFC as another branch of the rugby family tree.

“We now really do offer rugby for all ages from 18 months up. Our club is all about inclusion during these difficult times and we are proud to offer a safe, happy, experienced and welcoming space for all to enjoy what rugby has to offer. Welcome didi rugby.”

Local community

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen added: “There is a great team at Worcester RFC ready to offer all that didi rugby has to the local community.

“The club have been fantastic support in welcoming us and working proactively to get didi rugby up and running, while Alex has a huge amount of experience to bring to the party and is really keen to give something back to the sport.

“We are all looking forward to what should be a fantastic launch on 5 December with lots of fun and games for children – and their parents!”

More details of the launch day and classes to follow will be coming soon.

To book your child’s place on our didi rugby Worcester launch day, please visit: https://bit.ly/34lTETS

Read more: Alex Matthews: “It will be great to get young children involved in this sport and also get involved in the local community around Worcester.”

Watch: Welcome to the didi rugby pod…

 

England’s Alex Matthews launches didi rugby Worcester

didi rugby Worcester's Alex Matthews in a didi hoodie

World Cup winner and newly-signed Worcester Women’s Rugby star Alex Matthews has joined the didi rugby team who will be launching didi rugby Worcester.

Alex has been part of the England XVs and Sevens set-up for almost a decade now but had her world thrown upside down when the England Sevens set-up became a casualty of recent coronavirus-related cuts by the Rugby Union (RFU).

didi rugby Worcester's Alex Matthews in a didi hoodie
Alex Matthews

Determined to ‘give something back’ to the sport that had made her what she is today, Alex had already experienced the positive benefits of didi rugby having helped out at didi rugby Reading.

So, when she got talking with didi founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen and then signed to play for Worcester Warriors in the Women’s Premier XVs this season, a partnership began to take place.

Now everything is in place, didi rugby Worcester will become the latest venue to get young children aged 18 months to 6 years playing rugby, learning new skills and having fun. Class venues will be released very soon.

It’s the latest step in an incredible few months for Alex.

Olympics

“When the pandemic began, and we had to leave the Sevens group, nobody knew what to expect,” she said.

“When we found out it was the end of the Sevens programme, it was heart-breaking. We are all desperate to go to the Olympics, and be in the best place possible, so we are currently trying to secure private funding – and that’s ongoing.

“I went through a range of emotions at the time, a lot of uncertainty. What am I going to do with my life? Would I need to go and get a job – a ‘proper job’? I panicked. But then I took a more practical approach and said to myself ‘what’s the rush’? I wanted to make sure that I am doing something that I have passion for and then didi rugby came along.

“didi will give me more of a purpose and it will be great to get young children involved in this sport and also get involved in the local community around Worcester.

Children learn so much from didi

“I have already seen the power of didi rugby and the children learn so much from it, without them even knowing. It gets them active and they always have fun. It’s a tremendously well-run and well-organised programme at didi and I am really looking forward to getting involved.”

Vicky Macqueen added: “It’s just amazing to have Alex involved in the launch of didi rugby Worcester.

“Having been involved with classes in the Reading area, Alex is fully aware of the joy our sessions can bring to both parents and children and she knows our ethos inside out.

“Her determination and drive is obvious and her background in the sport is incredible having been involved in the national set-up for a decade.

“We are proud that she has decided to help us get didi rugby Worcester off the ground and can’t wait for the parents in that area to be able to see just how good our classes are for helping their children develop new skills and confidence in a safe environment.”

Read more: didi rugby is booming after ‘survive then thrive’ planning

Read more: Alex Matthews England Rugby profile

WATCH: Why didi rugby Reading has enjoyed two years of success…

 

didi rugby booming after ‘survive then thrive’ planning

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen

Founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen has paid tribute to children, parents, carers, coaches and franchise owners who have helped didi rugby bounce back from lockdown and now be in a position where classes across the UK are ‘absolutely booming’.

With regular classes filling up rapidly, areas in places like Sutton Coldfield and Stafford have even added extra sessions to meet demand.

Similarly, the launch of a new didi rugby area in Harrogate, set for September 19, has over 100 children booked in for what is set to be an exciting and busy day.

“It has been astonishing,” said Vicky. “The demand we have seen for our provision has gone through the roof and it has been amazing for our local coaches to see the smiling faces of the children they were entertaining via Zoom during lockdown.

Children play at a didi rugby class
Children play at a didi rugby class

“We spoke as a group of coaches and franchises on a regular basis during lockdown planning our recovery when restrictions had died down. We discussed putting ourselves into a position where we could ‘survive then thrive’ when we were allowed to go back to face-to-face delivery.

“The planning and detail that went into our return was thorough and I would like to thank all of those involved in getting didi rugby classes back up and running and all parents and children who have been quick to trust our safety measures and return to outdoor classes with a smile on their face.”

Indoor and outdoor didi classes came to a dramatic halt – like most other things in the country – when PM Boris Johnson placed the country under lockdown in March.

But local didi coaches across the UK did an amazing job of maintaining engagement with their young stars and parents with online sessions during lockdown.

Classes booming

And since restrictions were lifted, didi HQ were very quick to re-start classes with social distancing and COVID cleanliness at the top of the agenda.

As restrictions have eased, didi classes around the country have seen an incredible influx of interest from parents who are looking for a safe environment to bring their child for some much-needed fun and activity.

With didi cricket also launching in selected areas too, Vicky says she has been overwhelmed by the support of franchise owners and coaches who have committed to returning to class delivery as soon as possible – and the way they have tackled a challenging situation to provide fun and activity for children in their areas.

Get active

And having home-schooled her own two young children through the lockdown period, Vicky says she has since met so many people who were delighted to be able to get out and get active with their kids.

“We have all been in the same boat haven’t we? Stuck inside our four walls with children who were desperate to do what kids do best – get outside, playing and having fun,” added Vicky.

“It has been a tough period for us all as parents but we have come out on the other side and didi rugby – and cricket for that matter – are absolutely booming as a result of some great commitment from our didi team and our parents and children. There are exciting times ahead.”

Read more: Extra sessions laid out for Harrogate launch due to incredible demand. 

WATCH: One of Vicky Macqueen’s ‘Lockdown Challenges’…

 

didi sports to be piloted in educational settings and schools

The didi sport logo

Hinckley and Reading have been chosen as the first two areas for a pilot scheme which is set to see didi rugby provide an expanded offering to schools.

Starting in September, educational settings including nurseries and pre-schools will be able to book a didi sports session.

The didi sport logo

This will see classes receive a varied sports programme throughout each term which will include sports like: rugby, cricket, basketball and dodgeball.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said she had listened to numerous requests from schools for this sort of programme.

School or nursery

“The success of didi rugby over the past two years has put us in a strong position to develop didi sports sessions,” she said.

“My area of Hinckley and the amazing team in Reading are very excited to start delivering this.

“Every school or nursery which invites us in can be confident they will be getting a very high quality delivery from a didi sports class because of the reputation we have built up with didi rugby.

“That business has been built up around rugby because of my background as an international playing for England. But I am a qualified PE teacher, I have been head of sport at a high school and have also been in a sports co-ordinator role so a multi-skilled offering has always been on the radar.

“Schools and nurseries have told us that they like to mix their activities.” Vicky Macqueen

 

“Schools and nurseries have told us that they like to mix their activities so it fits in well with what we are going to pilot – and hopefully roll out across the UK over time.

“Our classes will encourage pace, variety and challenge throughout. Children will add to their physical literacy and we are always committed to promoting a multi-skilled approach to learning whatever sport we offer.”

Craig Hunter, co-owner of didi rugby Reading, said: “We are really excited to be working with Vicky to start offering didi sports across the Reading area as soon as it is safe to do so from September.

“As schools, including after schools clubs and leisure centres start to get going again after lockdown, it is important that the younger children in the 18 moths to 6-years-old age range are not forgotten.”

Outdoor venues

didi rugby classes are already back up and running in most franchise areas across the UK with safe and socially-distanced classes proving a huge success at outdoor venues.

didi cricket pilot schemes were successfully launched in the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire areas before the pandemic and will now be rolled out in at least six other areas across the UK from next month onwards.

The didi sports offering will be specifically aimed at educational settings for the time being.

Read more:  Book your child on for a free taster session at any of our venues across the UK

Watch: didi cricket classes in January saw the first expansion of the didi rugby offering 

didi rugby story time with Heather Fisher is proving a huge hit

England star Heather Fisher holds up a book called The Little Dinosaur

didi rugby ambassador and England Women’s international Heather Fisher is causing a storm every night.

One of women’s sports most recognisable figure has been hosting ‘didi rugby story time’ for the last two weeks to brighten up the days of many didi stars during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020.

It has come as no surprise to those who know her, that the amount of children and parents who have been watching her broadcasts live on didi’s Facebook channel, has grown day by day.

Heather’s energetic delivery and friendly face has attracted a dedicated bunch of fans who have loved being face-to-face with her every weekday evening at 6.00pm.

Not only has Heather been reading some of the nation’s favourite children’s books written over the past 10 years, she has also been teaching them some new physical skills and things to work on for the following evening.

“I am loving doing this collaboration with didi rugby,” says Heather. “The amount of people who are tuning in has grown every night and I am really enjoying having fun with our didi stars.”

Friend of Heather Fisher

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen is a long-time friend of Heather and she has been delighted with the reaction to ‘story time’.

“Heather has been amazing and has already built up a real rapport with the children and parents who are tuning in every night at 6.00pm. We are having lots of fun and the feedback we have been getting has been incredible!”

Growing in popularity with members and non-members too, ‘didi rugby story time’ is part of an amazing effort from didi rugby franchises across the UK who have been hosting classes and setting challenges online, instead of face-to-face throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • WATCH this video below to see a full version of ‘story time with Heather Fisher’. Join us every weekday night LIVE on Facebook from 6.00pm.
  • Book your child onto didi rugby’s national online session every Monday from 11.00am during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown here: https://bit.ly/2z2XjsL

Acti-Fit have become didi rugby’s official education partner

Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference

Acti-Fit have become didi rugby’s official education partner.

As a result, they will help to provide new coaches for didi rugby’s ever-growing class numbers and offer new and existing coaches the opportunity to gain a professional, chartered qualification on the job.

Based in the Midlands and driven by a host of passionate people, Acti-Fit are on a mission to push the boundaries of coaching by harnessing the power of sport and education.

With a team of experts, they provide 360 coaching consultancy, to support coaches with their educational development.

Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference
Acti-Fit director Ellis Bailey speaks at the didi rugby Conference

They embrace an ethos of getting people active and having fun through physical activity and it is an ethos which fits perfectly with the mantra that drives didi rugby and its classes for children up and down the country.

Through their knowledge and support networks, Acti-Fit will help provide didi with the right coaches at the right time for classes across the UK, in areas which are looking to expand.

This will provide not only more dedicated staff to support didi rugby’s ever-growing numbers of young members but will also allow those coaches to gain a professional qualification while doing so.

The Acti-Fit team promise to make those coaches become the best coach they can be and they will also give them the opportunity to become chartered in their respective field.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen says she is delighted to confirm the partnership with Acti-Fit.

Personal development

“We have been chatting to them for a long time about having the same ethos, mentality and goals of getting kids active across the country,” she said. “It has been great to hear their ideas about making people better coaches and managers and putting them onto formal qualifications.

“We are always keen to make our didi coaches the best they can be with ongoing personal development.

“There will be a clear pathway to develop the children, their classes and the coaches who lead them.

“The partnership will also provide a clear pathway for didi coaches and franchise holders to develop and learn while they are on the job.”

didi rugby already teaches a framework which fits in with rugby’s governing body’s guidelines and with Vicky being one of only a handful of RFU Level 4 female coaches in the UK, youngsters who attend didi classes are always in safe hands.

Acti-Fit Partnership

“We are confident that the formal qualifications that Acti-Fit are adding to our coaching will stand us apart from other providers and ensure that customers get the very best from a session when they attend didi rugby with their children.

“It will be a very healthy partnership and it is exciting for me to be able to give our franchisees some great training which will, in turn, support them to support their loyal customers.

Ellis Bailey is a director at Acti-Fit and he says that he quickly realised there was lots of synergy between the two companies soon after meeting Vicky.

“When we set up Acti-Fit, we wanted to do something to make a difference,” said Ellis.

“Like didi rugby, we have a lot of things we feel passionately about like getting kids active and healthy and trying to better the quality of coaching in the UK through education.

Coaching pathway

“We were happy to start a didi franchise as part of the partnership too and we also wanted to offer franchise owners the opportunity to grow with an educational coaching pathway.

“Whenever we discuss going into a partnership with anyone, we want to invest in people and what I saw from didi rugby was a group of people with a genuine passion for what they believe in.

“It’s not a made-up story. It’s genuinely what they want to do. Vicky is a genuine person with a huge passion for sport and wanting to work for the community.

“Our partnership really is a match made in heaven.”

  • Watch: didi cricket delights school children in Gloucestershire…

 

 

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.”

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