How to support a Local LARIA Group

Our local groups are at the heart of what LARIA is about. We encourage our members to organise their own local events and networking. These activities are often free to take part in as members borrow rooms and facilities, and volunteer to make it happen. Without volunteers in an active group, it is very difficult for activities to happen at a local level.

Most areas have a Regional Representative, and we would encourage all members to support them in any way they can. This might be a couple of hours of time to help, or more substantial support of the local group. This could include stepping forward and helping to lead the group itself. Whatever you can offer we can guarantee it would be welcomed by your local group and local members. If you are interested in helping you can contact either your Local LARIA Representative or (admin@laria.org.uk).

Local LARIA groups are currently arranged based on country and region within England (Scotland, Wales, North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, London, South East, East of England, South West). We are open to suggestions for other configurations of local groups if it benefits members, for examples helps with travel. LARIA also does not want to duplicate existing networking groups so it could be that the local LARIA group works in partnership with others.

Regional Representative Role

A Regional Representative is responsible for organising and leading LARIA Activity in their area. Working with other LARIA members they are responsible for promoting LARIA within their area, helping members and organising events (if appropriate and practical).

Regional Representatives are volunteers. If more than one person volunteers, then the decision will be through local LARIA members supported by the LARIA Council. The regional representatives represents LARIA members and potential members in their area. They will act as an essential link between LARIA members and the LARIA Council.

There are a range of possible activities that Local LARIA Chairs can perform and promote, depending on the proactive nature of the individual and the nature of their area, its geography, the distribution and number of members. These tasks include:

  • * Leading the Local LARIA activity and be a point of contact for LARIA members in your area
  • * Maintain contact with local members
  • Organise meetings for local members who would like contact with others; this is naturally dependent on the region’s geography, the distribution and number of members
  • * Proactively seeking out and helping potential LARIA members
  • * Keep members informed of research developments, training opportunities, secondment and job opportunities, relevant reports and news
  • * Building a network of volunteers, in particular supporting those who may be interested in becoming the Local LARIA Regional Representative in the future or taking part in other LARIA activities including joining the LARIA Council
  • * Promote LARIA events
  • * We can also train up volunteers to put content directly onto the LARIA website and would encourage volunteers to be active on Twitter, Linkedin and the Knowledge Hub
  • * Submit a short update to the LARIA Council meeting at the Annual Conference
  • * Inform the LARIA Council of their activities throughout the year
  • * Produce at least an annual regional newsletter detailing local LARIA activity and recent developments in LARIA. All emails and newsletters must be distributed via admin@laria.org.uk.
  • * A helpful, understanding, communicative and gregarious nature is desirable
  • * Approximately 2-3 hours per month, proactive Local LARIA Chairs will probably spend more than this
  • * Lead by example:
    • – Be open and honest
    • – Share what you are doing, and what excites you
    • – Show what is possible
    • – Push the boundaries

Ideas for the kinds of activities a local group can do

If you have volunteered to be a LARIA local volunteer then anything you do is helpful …

  • * The LARIA administration team (contactable via admin@laria.org.uk or 0345 676 9598) can give you the membership list for the area, so that is an initial start for people to contact. However, all communication must come through LARIA initially.
  • * You can invite everyone who attends any meeting, or you are in contact with to join LARIA. As well as ensuring they get all relevant communications from LARIA it helps maintain the central database and you can have regular updates.
  • * You can email round the members in the local area asking them if they would like to get together to share what they have done, any problems they might have etc.
  • * The only thing really needed is a room, for say 30 people. You can ask someone other than yourself if they could provide one. They then get to choose the date for the get-together
  • * If you want to find speakers for an event you can always ask the organisation with the room if their Chief Executive or a Director could spend 30 minutes just to come and talk about their research and data needs and just stay there for a short discussion. If there are some topics of interest you can always browse a local University website and see if there is someone researching on the topic to invite them
  • * You might also want to encourage those who have spoken at LARIA conferences to speak again locally, or encourage those who have spoken locally to apply to speak at the LARIA conference
  • * Encourage members to put themselves forward to speak at the LARIA Conference/Webinars and also enter the LARIA Research Impact Awards
  • * Encourage local LARIA members to write a blog post for the LARIA website/monthly newsletter. LARIA is always looking for good case studies and research reports to share with members.
  • * Encourage local LARIA members to promote LARIA content, and the work of other LARIA members on social media
  • * Have fun, support members and help LARIA show the value of local networking and identifying best practice in research across the country

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