Inspirational Sixth Form College Student Overcomes Obstacles with Custom-Made Filming Harness

(L-R: Lyla Clarke, Hope Mkandawire, Pan Aslanidi and Lee Bell)

In a heart-warming display of compassion, first-year BTEC TV & Film Production student, Hope Mkandawire, who has cerebral palsy, has received a specially designed filming chest harness that allows him to pursue his passion for filmmaking hands-free. This remarkable piece of equipment was custom-made by Lee Bell, Curriculum Support Technician at the Sixth Form College, providing Hope with a newfound freedom to capture captivating visuals while safely navigating his studies from a walking frame or wheelchair. 

Hope’s journey to become a filmmaker has been filled with challenges, but his unwavering determination has proven that anything is possible with the right support. Cerebral palsy affects his motor skills, making it difficult for him to hold and operate a camera while maintaining balance. However, this barrier did not deter Hope from pursuing his dreams. 

Lee took it upon himself to construct a filming chest harness that would alleviate the physical obstacles Hope faced. The harness is crafted to support the weight of the camera, allowing Hope to film effortlessly, without the need to hold it himself. This has not only empowered Hope to pursue his studies but has also opened doors for other aspiring filmmakers facing similar challenges. 

What makes this story even more extraordinary is that the only other known piece of equipment that serves the same purpose is located in the United States and is currently sold out, inspiring Lee to create a similar version for Hope. Hope’s customised filming harness has not only provided him with a practical solution but has also sparked hope and inspiration within the film and TV production community. It serves as a testament to the power of creativity and collaboration in overcoming obstacles and ensuring inclusivity in the world of filmmaking. Hope commented,


BTEC TV & Film Production student
Hope Mkandawire
BTEC TV & Film Production student

This filming harness has improved my education. It allows me to pursue my passion without limitations. I’m incredibly thankful to Lee Bell for his dedication and support. I hope this chest harness can help others like me, proving that disability is not a hindrance but an opportunity for innovation.” 

Curriculum Support Technician
Lee Bell
Curriculum Support Technician

Lee Bell, the maker behind the custom filming harness, shared his thoughts on the collaboration, saying,

Working with Hope has been an absolute privilege. Witnessing his passion and determination inspired me to find a solution that would allow him to pursue his dreams. Seeing the impact this harness has had on his education is truly humbling. It’s my hope that kit not only assists Hope but also creates a ripple effect, encouraging others to embrace creativity.”

Hope’s story is a powerful reminder that with determination, innovation, and supportive individuals, barriers can be overcome. As he continues his studies, Hope serves as an inspiration to his peers and for aspiring filmmakers. His story is a testament to the transformative power of inclusive design, reminding us all that no dream is too big.