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…

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’…