What a year 2017 has been! As the financial year has come to an end, we look back at what we have achieved for our members, users and society. Brexit, changes in government and policies, security and human rights threats, unemployment and discrimination, all topic that featured prominently!

We are proud to release our 2017 Impact Report with a summary of our achievements together. The Institute remains strong in delivering its mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society. This has been our mission since our formation in 2001. There is a need for community voice and empowerment now more than ever.

Wendy SmithIARS trustee said: "It has been a delight and a privilege to get another year under my belt as a trustee at IARS. I have been so impressed by the passion of everyone involved with the organisation from the young people, our amazing interns and dedicated staff - all determined to make a difference. These are challenging times, socially, economically but this is one organisation that is here to make its voice heard."

As the report indicates, the IARS team worked hard with our European partners and with local councils and government to deliver projects that aim at making a difference, not just on a personal level as we aim to empower everyone involved in our projects, but also on a systemic level. Our bottom up approach means that even the most marginalised groups can affect policy change.

Professor Theo Gavrielides, IARS Founder and Director, said: “The Institute is going through an exciting period of change, adopting and evolving. Since its inception, IARS has been an international NGO, led by communities who want to influence change across the world. Whilst we remain hopeful that the UK gov­ernment will negotiate to keep those positive collaborative European programmes, like Erasmus+, we have been focusing this year on expanding our remit and adjusting our strategy. We look forward to continue working with our members and users for a fairer society".

During the year, we have held two away-days to develop our 3-year strategy which we will publish once it has been finalised. To find out what our previous strategic aims were, follow the link before https://www.iars.org.uk/content/vision_mission

James Lowe, IARS trustee said: "I joined IARS as a Trustee in 2017 and have been pleased and impressed over the last year to see how this organisation helps to improve young people's lives in a positive manner".

If you are unfamiliar with who we are and what we do, by reading this you will not only get an understanding of the types of projects that we do and their impact but you will also find out about our aims and values and find out how to join us as a member.

Equally you can witness our work in action at our 6th IARS Annual International Conference. This international event will push the barriers of policy making and practice through the presentation of evidence-based solutions, and by allowing the voices that are rarely heard to lead on debates that matter. The conference will launch the findings of our Erasmus funded projects Epsilon (Day 1) and Abused no More (Day 2). We are also pleased to offer a limited number of bursaries of up to €200 plus the costs of registration (£70) for international participants. IARS members, workshop presenters, young people, migrants and refugees will be prioritised. To find out more about the bursaries and to register, follow this link to our annual conference page.

Panagoitis Pentaris, IARS Trustee Said:"In a climate of political, economic and social change, IARS is contributing to building a fairer society, where everyone has their voice heard and enjoys equality of opportunity. The ideal of social justice is at the forefront of the work IARS does, while its goals are service-user led. Such are the reasons that attracted my interest to actively contribute to the organisation's activities and empower its potential to thrive and help others thrive as well"