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Lisa Mallet
I smile all the time


Lisa Mallet, who is 35, works at the Evergreen Nursery at Stradreagh. She loves fashion and music, and is Destined’s in-house style queen. Lisa lives with her parents and two sisters in Bracken Park. They are a very close and happy family.

 “My mum and dad are good to me. They help me and they take me out on runs in the car like to Lisfannon or the beach. When we go to the beach, we would take a picnic with us with – sandwiches. I had a nice time growing up. I don’t fight with my sisters. But they sometimes take my clothes and I take their clothes as well!”

Lisa enrolled at Foyle View school aged four, but didn’t adapt well to it. “I never liked it. I couldn’t speak at school because I was quiet when I was younger.”

After transferring to Belmont, however, Lisa was much happier and made lots of new friends. “My friends were Shauna McKevitt, David McCauley and Patrick Cassidy. At school everyone was mostly good to me. But sometimes my teachers were cross at me and sometimes weren’t fair. One teacher slapped me on the leg and stood me in the corner because I was bad - I used to hit people I knew. I was bold, but I don’t do that anymore. Mrs Glenn, who died, was my teacher too. She was George Glen’s wife and was very nice.

“Sometimes at school I used to get called names. Michael Cole used to call me names - I haven’t forgiven him! Others people called me names as well, like Damien and Helen. I got pushed under the water and I couldn’t breathe, when we went swimming with the school. That put me off going swimming.”


Lisa has never worried about her learning disability and says she gets great support from her family and friends when outsiders occasionally pass comment.

“I accept my learning disability. I get on grand. Sometimes people call me names or say things like, ‘look at her’ or, ‘look what she is doing’, and I tell them to shut up. My mum said to me to not take them on. This happened a couple of weeks ago as well.”

After leaving school, Lisa enrolled at the Maybrook Centre and then worked as a volunteer at Greenhaw Care Centre before moving to Evergreen at Stradreagh.

“I don’t like Evergreen much, but I liked where I used to work before, in Greenhaw. I did the hoovering and washing there on Tuesday mornings and cleaned the tables in the canteen with Clare.  At Evergreen, I tidy up the dishes and put the knives and forks on the tables. They are good to me. Dorothy calls for me every morning and takes us to work. I get on well with my co-workers.

“I would like a job doing cleaning polishing and hovering.  I don’t do it in the house though. I write down in my work what I did in the house. I am the only one in the house to take my plate over to the dishwasher after I eat!”

Lisa is also taking courses at the North West Institute and is a regular attendee at Destined.

“The teacher does programs with us at the Tech. He gives us a sheet and spells out the numbers we do. I can’t count well or use money. I can write a little.

“I like going to Destined. It’s good. I have been going since the start. I enjoy all my friends like Darryl, Kathleen McRea and Dympna. I like the Rambling Club and the pampering. I don’t go to the pictures on a Friday though. I went on holidays to Belleek with Destined. It was good. And we went on a train to Portrush, to Barry’s Amusements, and I went on the Big Dipper. I was squealing out of me. My mum said I was mad going on it. I’m not really scared, though.

“There are lots of carers who are very good to me like Ann Sweeney and Fiona Melarkey and the staff at Destined: Dermot, Terry, Catherine and Martina Coyle.”

Besides Destined, Lisa has two other great loves in her life, music - especially the Spice Girls - and style.

“I go shopping in Primark, where my sister works. Sometimes it’s good value. I go up every Saturday to Foyleside and the Richmond Centre with my parents. Then they take me in for something to eat in the café.

“When I am going out somewhere, I get my hair done in John Paul’s Hairdressers on Carlisle Road. Edel always does my hair - I don’t let anyone else do it. I normally go every month, every time it grows.

“I like style. If someone is badly dressed I tell them they shouldn’t wear that. I would say to my mother and sisters, ‘I don’t like this’ and ‘I don’t like that’.  They don’t mind.

“I like to spend time going places. I used to do Irish dancing when I was younger. I had an operation on my foot one time. My foot was very sore. I only dance in discos now, like in the Strand Bar.”

Lisa says she is a lot happier now, and has a lot more friends, than when she was younger.

“It’s better now than when I was young. I am happy now. I smile all the time.”


(See also: Kathleen Mallett interview)