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’…

 

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