Here are some recent examples of personal, documentary based work for charities, and films exploring people’s experiences of different public and third-sector services.

Evaluating the impact of a ‘Cultural Citizens Programme’ / Arts Council England


Last year the Arts Council funded a ‘Cultural Citizens Programme’ to promote arts and culture to young people who would not normally have access or an interest. The programme was implemented by different organisations across the country. So the Arts Council wanted to find out: what was it like being on the programme, what were its impacts, and how could it be improved? We visited a pilot area in Liverpool during and after the programme, to document the experiences of one school group.


“Working with Close-Up Research was a really positive experience, and we really appreciated your flexibility and patience. I felt very confident sending you to Blackpool, knowing something good would come back. I think this encapsulates both your sensitive approach and level of trust when working with people from vulnerable backgrounds. We were very pleased with the results, and the school loved the film. The level of insight you got out from the participants was particularly impressive – as across the Programme they weren’t always the most forthcoming. I’d definitely recommend you.”

– Head of Impact & Evaluation, Renaisi (commissioned the work on behalf of Arts Council England)

Evaluating a residential home ‘co-production’ / Leonard Cheshire Disability


Leonard Cheshire runs residential homes across the UK for people with disabilities. Through a ‘co-production’ approach, their ‘Future Choices’ programme aimed to increase residents’ choice and control, and so improve the standard of care in their homes. As such, the client wanted to know: how well did their ‘person-centred’ process run, and what were the impacts? We visited one home, Athol House, three times. Once during their group workshop, then some months later to observe the resulting activities, with a final visit for more in-depth follow-up interviews.


“You were a pleasure to work with, warm in manner, organised, and able to provide constructive advice. The final product was high quality and effectively captured the complex programme that we were trying to implement. The film highlighted the importance of listening to our customers and involving them in decision-making, something we will build on with our new customer insight team and customer advisory council. We’ll be using the film to promote co-production both within the organisation and hopefully externally too.”

– Future Choices Strategic Lead, Leonard Cheshire Disability

Assessing the impact of a ‘Family Innovation Fund’ / Essex County Council


Essex County Council’s new ‘Family Innovation Fund’ programme aims to help families and individuals in volatile situations build resilience, and reduce their reliance on statutory support. The programme is being implemented by six different partners across the region, each offering their own intervention service. As such, the client asked us to find out: what impact, if any, have these interventions had? And where could they be improved? We visited families who were recipients of different forms of intervention, each with their own story to tell. The video above follows 12-year-old Lewis, who had been experiencing extreme behaviour at home.


“You quickly developed a sound understanding of the programme, and clearly explained what the process would be. You put the families at ease, and the resulting films tell moving and insightful stories, helping to bring the evaluation findings to life. Our client was extremely happy with the end results, using them to help build a case for funding their future programmes. I would thoroughly recommend Close-Up Research and would not hesitate to use them again.”

– Senior Consultant, Impact & Evaluation at OPM (commissioned the work on behalf of ECC)

Understanding the Impacts of ‘Personal Health Budgets’ / NHS England


Traditionally, local authorities determined what form of care a person with long-term conditions received, and when. However with personal health budgets, the recipient is allocated a budget directly. As such, NHS England commissioned us to find out: what are the impacts of personal health budgets? And how can the budgets be applied most effectively? We visited budget recipients across the country, each representing different demographic segments, with different long-term conditions. The video above tells the story of Adrian, as well as interviews with his personal assistant and two service providers.


“You were great to work with. You’re extremely professional and really take the the time to understand our needs, balancing that effectively with providing expert advice. We’ve had great feedback from all participants, who say you asked extremely insightful questions. The quality of the case studies has been consistently high, and they’re now regularly used to help people understand the impacts of more personalised care. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending you.”

– Senior Communications Manager, NHS England

‘Warm Home Discount’ Scheme evaluation / OFGEM


OFGEM’s ‘Warm Home Discount’ scheme offered a range of advice and initiatives to help people, particularly low-income or ‘vulnerable’ customers, better manage their gas and electricity usage. As such, the client wanted to know: how effective has OFGEM’s ‘Warm Home Discount’ scheme been? And what would help improve its effectiveness? We visited different people across the country, from a range of backgrounds. The video above features Rizwana, who lives in Scotland.


“Your sensitive approach to understanding the actual person, rather than just another consumer, brought the findings to life in a way that a written report can never do. Rather than just reading about generic consumer attitudes, my policy colleagues were exposed to real views from real people. The case studies were shared more widely with industry participants at workshops to demonstrate the impact of the scheme and the difference it can make to consumers’ lives.”

– Senior Consumer Insight Manager, OFGEM

Homes4Children campaign / Children’s Rights Alliance for England


The UK government is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which sets a six-week legal limit on temporary housing, and stipulates that every child has the right to grow up in a healthy environment. But thousands of children without permanent homes are growing up in B&Bs, spending months and sometimes years there. As such, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), wanted to us to find out and communicate: what’s life like for young people experiencing this kind of temporary housing?


This was a special kind of project for us, in that our end result was a campaign ad. We worked with several young people who have lived in temporary housing, to understand what life has been like for them, and come up with a respectful and effective way to communicate their experiences. To protect the young people’s privacy, no faces are shown. But the voices you hear are not performed, they’re from authentic interviews with the participants, who also helped out on set for the filming as part of a ‘co-production’ process. For maximum traction, we titled the video ‘Thousand of British Children Live Like This’, and the film was shown to MPs at The House of Commons last October.

The Pianist of Yarmouk / Guernica Studios


‘The Pianist of Yarmouk’ mixes archive footage with interview and animation, to tell the story of Aeham Ahmad: a classically-trained musician attempting to escape the war in Syria for safety in Europe. It was co-directed and edited by Close-Up’s Elliot Manches for Guernica Studios, and used to help raise awareness and funds for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The film was posted on social media with the prefix: ‘What A Refugee’s Journey Really Looks Like’.