Clarissa: Virtual film tour and Q&A sessions to improve the health of people affected by homelessness

| Lauren Wallace-Thompson

Through our recent Hidden & Hunted project, we saw how powerful visual media can be as a tool to explore and tell stories about homelessness. That’s why, when we saw “out of homelessness” charity Groundswell were looking to partner with someone to deliver a virtual tour of their new film Clarissa, we just had to get involved. And now, you can too! The virtual tour of Clarissa will see us bringing this important film to nine regions throughout the UK – read on to find out more and to book your spot. 

Clarissa is a film created to improve the health of people affected by homelessness, through better understanding of their experiences. Clarissa is a fiction film, but the storyline has been woven together from real experiences of people trying to access the healthcare system while facing homelessness in the UK. It’s a story of trauma, the importance of trust, and how this impacts someone’s experiences of healthcare. It’s a hugely powerful piece, and knowing that it is based on lived experience makes watching it all the more impactful. We believe that it will create change by offering this unique insight, which is why we want to get it in front of the eyes of as many people as possible, especially those with the ability to modify their practice, services or approach as a result of the learning from the film.

Clarissa was made by Chris Godwin from Inner Eye Productions in collaboration with Groundswell. Groundswell works with people with experience of homelessness, offering opportunities to contribute to society and create solutions to homelessness. Participation is at their core, because they believe that experience of homelessness is crucial in making decisions that affect lives and ultimately help people to move out of homelessness. Inner Eye Productions works with organisations who are looking to change mindsets, generate engagement and inspire innovation. Their approach is rooted in the power of film to inspire people to reflect on their own lives and think differently about others. Their films help change behaviour, but also systems, process and in some cases policy. Chris Godwin, Founder and Creative Director of Inner Eye Productions led the production of ‘Clarissa’ and is involved in the project steering group. Screenwriter and producer Jimmy McGovern – famous for his work as a screenwriter and producer on Brookside and Cracker, but also for many other issue-based dramas like Care (starring Sheridan Smith) and Hillsborough – served as a story consultant on the film. The project has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.

To mark the launch of the film for wider use, Ideas Alliance is thrilled to team up with Groundswell to present a series of live, regional screenings followed by a discussion panel. Clarissa was created in collaboration with people who have lived experience of homelessness, with the intention of opening up the conversation about the barriers to accessing healthcare faced by people who are experiencing homelessness, and potential solutions to these. These post-screening discussions are intended to be the beginning of these change-driving conversations, giving attendees the opportunity to reflect on the issues voiced in the film and consider how small changes in practice or policy could create healthcare systems and experiences that work better for everyone. 

We’re particularly interested in getting people along who can make a difference to the healthcare experiences of people experiencing homelessness. Healthcare practitioners and NHS staff have a key role to play in access to healthcare, and we hope that this film will give them a better understanding of the challenges people experiencing homelessness face, enabling them to make informed changes in their practice or workplace. Similarly, staff working in homelessness support services can play a vital role in engaging people who are homeless with health services, and we think that seeing the film will leave them better equipped to engage and understand how to connect up people with the services that they need. Through the Q&A sessions, we aim to explore this and get inclusion health high on the agenda in locations across the UK. 

There will be an in-person, invite-only premiere event for key decision makers in the sectors, followed by a series of nine regionally-based but virtual screenings throughout October 2021. After each screening, we’ll be hosting a discussion panel of local people representing people with experience of homelessness, and those with links to homeless services and the healthcare sector. Although each virtual screening session will feature regional panellists, all sessions are open to everyone, no matter where you’re based. Attendees will also receive a follow-up pack to continue the momentum and help them put change into action, including resources and information about inclusion health practices and signposting to other relevant initiatives. Again, this will be tailored to your region to ensure it offers relevant and actionable guidance.

Tickets are free and bookable now via Eventbrite. We’re looking to target as many people as possible with this film, particularly those who may have not considered inclusion healthcare as a part of their professional practice before, so please do spread the message about this important and accessible event with colleagues and collaborators. You’ll find the screening dates and links to book your place below.

Virtual tour schedule

London & South East England – Friday 8 October 2021, 3pm – book tickets

North East England & Yorkshire – Monday 11 October 2021, 3pm – book tickets

North West England – Tuesday 12 October 2021, 10am – book tickets

Midlands – Wednesday 13 October 2021, 10am – book tickets

East England – Monday 18 October 2021, 3pm – book tickets

South West England – Tuesday 19 October 2021, 10am – book tickets

Wales – Wednesday 20 October 2021, 3pm – book tickets

Scotland – Thursday 21 October 2021, 3pm – book tickets 

Northern Ireland – Friday 22 October 2021, 10am – book tickets

CONTENT WARNING: Clarissa explores themes relating to childhood abuse, drug taking and drug dependency. Should you need further support in relation to these issues, please see the Groundswell support resources page for a list of organisations you can contact.

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