Paula's Story

My name is Paula Thornton. I have been with Prosper Fingal since 1998.


I first started in the Skerries service. I learned to cook and did classes in computers and went on outings. I did a childcare work experience too. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.


I then moved to Piercetown when it opened to do training. I was a trainee in the canteen. I learned how to cook lots of things. Sometimes we made chicken and rice dishes and baked apple tarts and scones. Training was to help us get a job, learn new things and be more independent. We had a final exam before we finished training. The exam was for a NCVA certificate in catering. I didn’t find it hard and I did really well.


When I finished my training, I started going to the Rush service. Back then, Rush had pottery, printing and textiles workshops. I did pottery first and when a place was free I moved over to do sewing in the textiles workshop. We made quilts, dolls, baby books and cat draught excluders.


When the workshops closed down we got the chance to try something different. We had computers, cooking and personal hygiene, self advocacy, music and drama each week instead. In the summer time we would go out on trips with the staff and at Christmas we did Kris Kindle.

Last summer I was in a play in the Millbank Theatre that the Rush centre were asked to put on to celebrate the 30 year Anniversary of Prosper Fingal. I danced to Mama Mia with my friends and I was by myself for a minute on stage. I went red I was that embarrassed! I had a dancing partner on stage too. Afterwards we had a huge party with lots of nice food.


In September 2009, I moved to Piercetown because Rush was too noisy and busy for me.  Training doesn’t happen in Piercetown anymore. Instead people who want to slow down or retire can come to Piercetown. I go there everyday on the minibus. I get picked up outside my front door because I live in the countryside and there is no public transport. The bus driver Des is very funny and he makes me laugh. He sings silly songs to us, I laugh a lot.


I play basketball and train with Robbie from respite once a week. I play in competitions around Dublin. At the sports awards I got a trophy for coming second place in the basketball, I was thrilled.


Sometimes I get invited to attend different parties. Before Christmas I went to the RNID 50th Anniversary celebration in the All Hallows College in Drumcondra.  This was a party for nurses. I had a soft drink and biscuits and sat beside a lady from St. Michaels House. We played a game and had to dress up a pretend nurse. It was so funny; I like doing things like that and seeing new faces.


I’ve had three key workers since I came to Prosper Fingal. My key worker helps me and explains things that I find hard to understand. If I had the choice of moving to any of the other services and leaving Piercetown I wouldn’t want to leave.


This has been my story so far, I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my days here in Prosper Fingal, Paula.