Thank you for your continued support for LARIA and for continuing your membership through 2015. We are a voluntary organisation and depend on having active members. This year promises to be our best yet and we would love for you to play a part in it. Therefore why not commit to undertaking one or more of the following seven activities.

1 – Enter the LARIA Research Impact Awards 2015

The LARIA Research Impact Awards are the only awards specifically designed to showcase the work of those researching local areas. Award winners show excellence in research that is making a real difference to the people they serve. Entry is free to all LARIA corporate members. Just fill in the entry form by 2pm Monday 23rd February 2015.

2 – Book you place at the LARIA Annual Conference 24th-25th March 2015, York

Our November 2014 one-day conference sold out over a month before the event so make sure you book your place for our two-day conference now. It will be looking at how we make a difference through new ways of working. The full programme and list of speakers is now available. You can also book online with early bird rates available until 30th January 2015. We are proudly sponsored by CACI and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and as always the conference is the event to network with your fellow local area researchers from across the public and private sectors.

3 – What will you do during the first Local Area Research Fortnight 16th – 29th March 2015

LARIA wants to raise the profile of the impact of local area research so is pleased to launch the first Local Area Research Fortnight which will run from 16th – 29th March 2015. Our aim is to get not only LARIA members but a whole range of public and private sector organisations and bodies on board. As part of Local Area Research Fortnight participants are encouraged to organise events or publish materials that will help the public, politicians, employees and the media understand the impact of local area research. As this is the first Local Area Research Fortnight we are open to all ideas as to what activities would be suitable and have some initial ideas on our website.

4 – Get in contact with your local LARIA group

Find out more about what is going on in your local area. In our most active local areas there are regular meetings and website updates. For example in the North West there is a taster event on the 26th February in Manchester. All our local groups need active volunteers. If you are willing to help out please either contact the local Chair directly or email

5 – Focus on professional development

We know that many organisations have cut back on professional development as part of austerity measures. The LARIA Council very strongly believes that this is a false economy and we will be working this year to raise this issue up the agenda. We already have our National Occupational Standards framework which we would encourage all members to review and see how they can incorporate into your organisation’s own professional framework. We would also highlight the training opportunities available on our website and will be adding more throughout the year.

6 – Share with us your thoughts and research

Can you send us some great content for our website? For example we recently had an article from the University of Sheffield on ‘Real’ School Catchment areas. We also have lively discussions on the Knowledge Hub (800+ members) and Linkedin discussion groups (400+ members) and regularly tweet @laria (400+ followers).

7 – Get involved with running LARIA and help us grow

We have just launched the LARIA Prospectus which sets out what we have achieved to date and our development plan for 2015-2020. We welcome comments on these plans from members. We also have vacancies on the LARIA Council, including the role of Secretary, if you would like more details email

Photo credit: Well hello there 2015 by Chris Chabot