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‘Courageous’ and ‘inspiring’ youngster Abigail is Preston’s Switch On Star – Blog Preston

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Brave youngster Abigail McKenzie has been chosen as the winner of Preston’s Switch On Star competition.
Together with the organisers of the Christmas Lights Switch On, Preston BID, we selected Abigail for the inspirational way she has battled her own challenges while going above and beyond to raise money to help others.
Abigail’s mum Helen said: “Abigail was born with cerebral palsy, and in 2018 she underwent the neurological procedure SDR, which was shown on the BBC.
“Abigail was a model for the Alder Hey and Matalan pyjama campaign in 2019, and earlier this year she did the Captain Sir Tom’s 100 Challenge raising £1,100 for Ronald McDonald House by walking 100 laps of our estate, even with a fractured wrist.
“Following this challenge she underwent multilevel surgery and now has a two-year recovery ahead of her. Despite having to relearn to walk for the third time, she has not once complained.”
Read more: Preston youngster completes Captain Tom’s 100 Challenge to raise funds for hospital where she stayed after surgery
Abigail received multiple nominations, one of which read: “Abi is the strongest bravest young lady that I have ever known, and has the brightest smile you will ever see. She is truly an inspiration to all who know her.”
Other nominations described Abigail as ‘courageous’, ‘a warrior’ and ‘ a superhero’.
On telling Abigail the news that she’d won Helen said: “She was very excited and is very happy to be the Switch On Star.”
Abigail will be invited on stage at the Christmas Lights Switch On to speak to the event hosts, before joining famous faces to light up the city.
The event, which is free to attend, takes place on the Flag Market this Saturday (20 November) from 5.30pm, and will feature a host of performers and special guests. 
Read more: Preston Christmas lights switch on 2021 details and timings confirmed
While Abigail is a most deserving winner, the number of brilliant nominations meant the judges’ decision was a tricky one. Here we share some of our favourite examples of Proud Prestonians…
Adrian Murrell
“Adrian works his absolute backside off to support and provide for the Preston community. Year after year we get to enjoy the amazing Windrush Festival and children’s Christmas party all for free; not to mention the various support meetings, education provision, etc.”
Read more: Preston North End and Windrush Initiatives launch racism education programme
Ava Jolliffe
“Ava is an amazing and dedicated disability advocate. At just 15 years old she has achieved so much for the deaf/blind community and through her amazing artistic endeavours she continues to push for equality and create a bridge between the able and disabled community.”
Read more: Deafblind Broughton teenager shortlisted for national charity award
Brian Burdekin
“Brian suffers from quadriplegia cerebral palsy and has inspired so many at his college with persevering In looking for a job, even though he had so many knockbacks. He has donated his birthday money to Disability NW to help other disabled users to find a job! He is keen to talk to others about resilience and the power for other disabled users to know they have a place in society.”
Read more: ‘Dreams do come true’ as 17-year-old with quadriplegia cerebral palsy gets job at Preston North End
Byron Highton
“Byron works tirelessly with the youths of Preston and beyond trying his best to tackle knife crime through his own tragic experience. He educates and helps them focus their negative experiences, through boxing and educational talks and offers incentives to tackle antisocial behaviour in the area. He is selfless in what he gives to the community to make the streets a safer place for our own children to grow up on.”
Read more: Brother of Jon-Jo Highton launches knife crime campaign ‘The J-J Effect’ in his name
Cathy Thompson
“Cathy runs a community theatre company called Kidz4Kidz and has done for the last 20 years. All the money raised from weekly subs, fundraising and shows gets donated to a local child in the area who may need it. All of this, while running a full time job, having a family to take care of, and being a continuous rock for friends and family. Cathy is a hero.”
Read more: Kidz 4 Kidz raising funds for 20th anniversary show after Preston theatre closed down
Chris Murray
“During lockdown Chris provided hot meals to the elderly and people in need and still continues to do this with lots of other volunteers. He also raises money for different charities including walking to Liverpool and to Wales where I was lucky enough to join in. It made me want to carry on helping knowing I was doing it for such a good cause and that was all down to Chris.”
Read more: Preston Here for Humanity to host reverse advent calendar for those in need
Des Grant
“Des was out of work throughout the lockdowns but entertained people when they couldn’t get out to pubs and clubs by creating a ‘disco’ from his garage. He is the father of Melanie Grant who sadly passed away at the age of 12, and Des and family set up a charity to raise money for a scanner at Royal Preston Hospital to help other children get a diagnosis earlier.”
Read more: St Catherine’s Hospice invites you to Rock The Lockdown in an online party this weekend
Faz Ali
“Faz has been as a voluntary youth worker for 25 to 30 years and always puts the youth first, over everything else. He will be a huge reason why so many youngsters have gone on to do well in life, and why so many kids were off the streets, as he ran the youth club, multiple nights a week, for many years.”
Read more: University of Central Lancashire staff encouraged to volunteer in Preston
Garry Cook
“Garry is a talented promoter, creative and photographer. His events are creative, passionate and diverse. He strives tirelessly to combat challenges, red tape, lack of resources, closed venues and even the Preston weather. When faced with hard lockdown he brought us our first outdoor photographic exhibition posted all around the city streets.”
Read more: Pictures of Lancashire Photography Festival’s opening weekend in Preston
James Kirby
“James is a serving soldier who lost his mum due to Covid. In honour of her he did a charity walk of 154 miles in 48 hours with 59kg on his back and raised over £8,000 pounds for BLESMA. He also volunteers as a football coach for Under 12s with a range of kids with different needs. He is a true hero and I’m proud to have him serving our country.”
Read more: Preston soldier completes 48-hour march in memory of mum who died from Covid
Peter Yates
“Pete is in his 80s and has been volunteering for years, especially during the pandemic when he has helped every day without fail with the food bank and community activities. He is always the first one on the scene.”
Roisín Pelan
“Roisín has battled stage 4 cancer, raised thousands for charity, adopted her little boy, managed her business selling cancer-related items and generally been an inspiration. She also became a Daily Mirror columnist amongst other things, all whilst battling cancer.”
Read more: ‘I made it!’ Lea cancer fighter’s joy at three year remission milestone
Victoria Musiala
“Victoria has been suffering from serious mental health issues due to the pandemic, however, she picked herself back up and now she helps the elderly as a live-in carer and spreads awareness of how mental health matters. She is a modern day warrior who wants to make this world shine that much brighter for everyone around her.”


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How to Capture Video Clips in Windows 10 – PCMag

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Windows 10 has a built-in tool called Game Bar to help you record your screen during PC and Xbox gaming sessions. But this tool can also be used to record non-gaming apps and activity.
Taking a screenshot in Windows 10 is fairly quick and simple, but capturing video of your screen activity is more challenging. Microsoft has made it easier through the use of a built-in video capture tool called Game Bar.
Game Bar was designed to record games you play directly on your PC, or those you stream from an Xbox console, but it can just as easily capture video of screen activity from your web browser, Windows applications, or any other program. Screen activity that you record is automatically saved as an MP4 video file.
If you want to use Game Bar, you will have to meet certain system requirements, including the right type of graphics card. If you try to use Game Bar and your PC isn’t up to snuff, you may receive an error telling you that your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirement for recording clips. But fear not, as there is a way around this limitation.
Before you can use the feature, first make sure Game Bar has been enabled. Open Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar and turn on the switch for Enable Xbox Game Bar
If you have an Xbox controller, or Xbox 360 controller with the right driver, you can trigger Game Bar through the Xbox button on the gamepad. To enable that feature, click the checkbox for Open Xbox Game Bar using this button as a controller
From this screen, you can also change any of the keyboard shortcuts associated with opening the Game Bar, taking a screenshot, and recording a video.
Open the app that you wish to record. You can start a recording from most applications and windows, but you can’t kick off a capture from the Windows desktop, File Explorer, or certain Windows apps such as Weather. Press Win + G to open the Game Bar. 
Several Game Bar widgets pop up with options for capturing screenshots, controlling your video and audio, and viewing your Xbox social account. The pane also displays the name of your current app, file, or window as the source for the video capture.
Click the camera icon to take a simple screenshot or hit the Start Recording button to capture your screen activity. Instead of going through the Game Bar pane, you can also just press Win + Alt + R to start your recording.
The first time you choose to record screen activity, Game Bar needs your permission. Click the checkbox to Enable gaming features for this app to record gameplay
You can now perform whatever screen actions you want to capture. The Game Bar widgets vanish, replaced by a small floating bar in the upper-right corner of the screen, through which you can control the recording.
To stop the recording, click the Recording button on the floating bar. A notification appears telling you that the game clip was recorded. Click the notification, and a window pops up showing your video. Click the Play button to view the video. 
You can also access and play your video from its location in File Explorer, which by default is C:Users[username]VideosCaptures
If you don’t like where video captures are being saved by default, you can always change the location. Go to Settings > Gaming > Captures. Click the Open folder button and choose a different folder.
Have you ever done something on your computer and then suddenly wished you’d captured the moment? With the Windows 10 Game Bar, you can record the last several seconds or minutes of screen activity after the fact.
To do this, you first need to grant permission for the computer to record your activities in the background. Go back to Settings > Gaming > Capture and check the box for Record in the background while I’m playing a game. While here, click the drop-down menu for Record the last to change the interval to anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes.
Now you need never miss a moment again. Open Game Bar and click the Record last 30 sec button, and a video is generated based on the number of seconds or minutes you set.
View your video captures, control what widgets appear, and customize an array of settings directly through Game Bar. Press Win + G to open the Game Bar. In the Capture widget, click the Show All Captures link to see a list of all your captured videos. You can then click a video you want to play.
Windows allows you to set what widgets pop up when Game Bar is activated. From the Game Bar display, close the window for any widget that you don’t want to see. In the top widget toolbar, click the Widget menu icon to the right of the Xbox logo, then select the widgets you want to use. You can also turn certain widgets on or off by clicking the appropriate icon on the top widget toolbar.
Click the Settings icon at the right end of the top widget. Here, you can view and change the accounts, shortcuts, theme, recording options, notifications, and other controls for Game Bar.
If you bump into problems with Game Bar, or the tool won’t let you capture your screen activity, your best bet is to check Microsoft’s “Troubleshoot Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10” web page. However, if you receive an error that your device doesn’t meet the hardware requirement for recording clips, there is a workaround.
Assuming you can’t change your PC hardware or video card, your next best option is to enlist the help of a third-party utility called Game DVR Config. Go to the utility’s GitHub page and download the GameDVR_Config.exe file. Open it, and at the configuration screen, check the box for Force software MFT (16 FPS + VBR)
Open Task Manager (right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager). Under the Processes tab, select Gamebar Presence Writer, then click End Task. Try Game Bar again to see if it now lets you capture your screen activity.
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Surviving a long and varied career in publishing, advertising, and IT, Lance Whitney now wears a few different technology hats. By day, he’s a journalist, software trainer, and sometime Web developer. By night, he’s asleep. These days, he writes news stories, columns, and reviews for CNET and other technology sites and publications. He’s written two books for Wiley & Sons: Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time in 2012, and Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn in 2014. Contact Lance via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
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YouTube Shorts Fund offers $10,000/month for creators – The Verge

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YouTube’s $100 million Shorts Fund launches this month
YouTube will pay creators up to $10,000 per month for making popular videos on its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts. The company plans to pay $100 million throughout the next year, with the first payments going out this month.
The fund could mean a whole lot of cash for creators, but payouts aren’t guaranteed. The popularity needed to earn money will depend on just how many people are making and watching Shorts each month, and payouts will also depend on where each creator’s audience is located.
YouTube is also requiring these to be original videos. Reuploads and videos tagged with watermarks from other platforms — aka TikTok, Snapchat, or Reels — will disqualify a channel for payments. The payments are only available in 10 regions for now, including the US, UK, India, and Brazil, among others, and YouTube says it plans on expanding that list “in the future.”
Creators have traditionally gotten paid on YouTube based on the ads that run in front of their videos, with there being a direct relationship between the number of ad views and the amount of money they receive. But with Shorts, YouTube doesn’t want to run an ad in front of every quick clip, so it’s building out this alternate form of payment to reward creators.
The Shorts Fund will eventually be replaced with a “long-term, scalable monetization program,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, said on today’s episode of Decoder. The fund is “a way to get going and to actually really start to figure out” how monetization should work for creators making these videos. “You’re essentially consuming a feed of shorts, and so the model has to work differently,” Mohan said.
Payment schemes like this have become increasingly common. TikTok and Snapchat both pay out to creators based on the popularity of their videos, rather than based on ads. The result is potentially lucrative for creators, though there’s less transparency on how much creators may earn any given month.
For YouTube, the fund offers a way to kickstart its late-in-the-game effort at a short-form video service. Though TikTok has a huge head start, YouTube is, at the end of the day, YouTube — an enormous and hugely popular video platform — which could give it an edge as it tries to spin up Shorts.
Mohan indicated that YouTube wouldn’t require creators to use Shorts in order to boost their overall engagement on the platform. “Our goal there is to give every creator a voice,” Mohan said on Decoder. “If the creator wants to do that through a two-hour documentary about a particular topic they’re passionate about, then YouTube should be the place for that. If they want to do that through a 15-second Short, that mixes in their favorite hit from their favorite music artists, they should be able to do that.”
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Malaysia's mangrove-planting fishermen stumble at nature finance hurdle – BusinessWorld Online

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SUNGAI ACHEH, Malaysia —  Walking across a swamp, retired fisherman Ilias Shafie and a small group of villagers plant mangrove saplings on Malaysia’s west coast, one tree at a time. 
They have put in some 400,000 mangrove trees since a restoration initiative started two decades ago, in what was initially a bid to increase the catch of local fishermen. 
Now their work has taken on extra significance as alarm grows over global warming and nature loss, with mangroves regarded as a key weapon in the fight against climate change. 
But the surge of international concern has yet to help this community win the global finance required to expand its project, highlighting the barriers often faced by groups on the ground seeking to tap into growing funding flows for nature protection. 
“Mangroves are important to us fishermen — we need them because this is the breeding ground of fish,” said Ilias, 70, recalling how dwindling mangrove forests affected his catch and livelihood, which prompted him to launch the initiative. 
Mangroves make up less than 1% of tropical forests worldwide but are crucial in the fight against climate change because they are more effective than most other forests at absorbing and storing planet-heating carbon. 
Mangrove ecosystems also protect coastal communities from storm surges, reduce flooding and help shore up food security. 
Despite their benefits, they are in decline, with the world’s mangrove area decreasing by just over 1 million hectares between 1990 and 2020, although the rate of loss has slowed in recent years, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 
CHALLENGES
In Malaysia, mangroves are often cleared to make way for infrastructure development and farming, while they are also under threat from industrial pollution and over-harvesting — including in northern Penang state, where Ilias lives. 
As fish catches dwindled for him and other fishermen in the late 1990s, Ilias mobilized his peers to join him in restoring the fast-vanishing mangrove forests through the Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association (PIFWA), which he leads. 
Their small initiative has won recognition — to date about 30 local companies have sponsored their tree-planting as part of corporate social responsibility projects. 
PIFWA charges the companies a small fee of 8 ringgit ($2) per tree planted, while participating fishermen are compensated with allowances for their time and labor. 
Now, Ilias is hoping to access larger sums of global funding to plant more trees, but he is struggling with challenges — from ways to access available money and scale up the project to other issues like language barriers and a lack of technical expertise. 
He cited an example from an international donor that wanted the group to innovate with new ideas and expand the tree-planting project after an initial round of funding. 
“We did not have the capacity to deliver other things, like turning this into an eco-tourism site or getting more youths involved,” he said, adding they did not receive further support as a result. 
“We are nervous — we are fishermen and we can’t commit to something we’re not confident in delivering,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on a break from planting mangrove saplings. 
His frustration shows the practical difficulties of channeling financing to rehabilitate nature where it is needed, even as more countries and donors invest in so-called “nature-based solutions,” from reforestation to wetland expansion. 
NEW PLEDGES
Over the last decade, less than 1% of international climate finance has gone to indigenous and local communities to manage forests that absorb planet-heating carbon emissions and are rich in biodiversity, according to a recent report from green groups
Nature protection remains underfunded worldwide, with the UN urging a four-fold increase in annual investment to $536 billion by 2050, to tackle the triple threat of climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation. 
Lately, there has been a rise in pledges, including at November’s UN COP26 climate summit, where about $19 billion was promised in public and private funding to protect and restore forests. 
This month, a new global fund was launched by the Rights and Resources Initiative and Campaign for Nature to help indigenous and local groups conserving forests and other ecosystems on the ground access international finance more easily. 
Environmentalist Meena Raman said making more small grants available to communities and partnering with local non-profits to overcome language and knowledge barriers would channel money to places that have missed out in the past. 
“Nature provides them with jobs, and they protect the ecosystem… It’s about sustainable livelihoods and sustaining nature [at the same time],” said Ms. Raman, president of Friends of the Earth Malaysia, a conservation group. 
BOOST FOR WOMEN
Back in Sungai Acheh, a sleepy village with wooden fishing boats along the river, women said they had also gained from the mangrove-planting initiative. 
A group of them has learned from mangrove-dwelling communities in Indonesia how to turn some of the tree species into tea, juice and jam, selling the products for 6–8 ringgit each to boost their household income. 
“It has not only helped my husband to increase his fishing catch, but I have benefited from it too,” said Siti Hajar Abdul Aziz, 36, a mother of five. 
More coastal communities like hers would gain from protecting nature and improving their livelihoods, if they get financial support to champion similar initiatives, she added. 
Siti Hajar hopes one day to find ways to expand sales of her mangrove products by selling them in places like supermarkets. 
“Before this I was just sitting at home — I have learned so much since I started doing this,” she said. — Beh Lih Yi/Thomson Reuters Foundation

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