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About the Board

Pam McConnell, CEO & Founder

Pam McConnell, CQSW, CTA, MSc., IGA and IFT trained, founded Five Rivers Child Care in 1989, having previously worked in social work with children and families where mental health and safeguarding were concerns. Trained as a Group Analyst, Family Therapist and Psychotherapist, these skills were used to create an integrated therapeutic service for looked after children.


David Howard, Chairman

David Howard has a Masters degree from Oxford University and qualified as a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants.  David has spent over 20 years as chairman of a variety of healthcare companies specialising in elderly care, care for adults with learning difficulties as well as child care. Prior to that, he was an investment banker and then a partner of Big 4 accounting firm EY. David has been Chairman of the Board at Five Rivers since 2017.


Cliff Fry, Non-Executive Director

A qualified chartered accountant, founder of Clifford Fry & Co Chartered Accountants and a fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Cliff has been practising for over 45 years, working with international companies and extensively within the care and the medical sectors.  Cliff has worked with Five Rivers Child Care as an advisor and auditor for the last 25 years and cares deeply about the mission statement of Turning Children’s Lives Around.


Kate Bradbury, Company Secretary

LLB (Hons)

Kate’s association with Five Rivers Child Care spans over 20 years; initially practising commercial law as a partner in a leading regional legal firm. From 2012, Kate joined the Board and has overseen legal compliance, commercial risk and provided general legal support during a period of significant organic and acquisitive growth.


Ben Wallage, Finance Director

A chartered accountant, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA, CGMA). Prior to joining the Board of Five Rivers Child Care, Ben had extensive international experience in the public and private sectors, in a variety of board-level finance roles.

Ben Wallage joined Five Rivers Child Care in 2019 as Finance Director. Ben is responsible for overseeing accounting, business support, financial planning and analysis, treasury, facilities & IT, and audit and tax functions. Ben relishes in turning his skillset and experience to delivering the best outcomes for the Five Rivers family, and all the children it supports, on its mission to Turn Children’s Lives Around.


Nicci Willock, Director of Fostering Services

BA (Hons) Sociology & Social Work, Level 5 Management & Leadership & Practice Educator

Since qualifying as a social worker over 30 years ago, Nicci has a wealth of experience working with children and families.  Before joining Five Rivers Child Care in 2012, Nicci had senior-level experience in both the public and independent sectors. As Director of Fostering Services, Nicci’s passion is to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people, supporting foster families to provide a nurturing environment for children and young people in order that they feel secure, live fulfilled lives and achieve brighter futures.


Deirdre McDonagh, Managing Director of Five Rivers Fostering Ireland

BA (Hons) Social Work (Awarded by Trinity College Dublin 1996), MA Health Care Management (2012)

Deirdre has been at the forefront of developing Five Rivers Ireland since joining in 2002 and has been part of the Five Rivers Ireland Board since 2005. Her area of expertise as a social worker is in fostering and she joined the Five Rivers Child Care Board in 2018.

Our Values

Our values are at the heart of everything we do. We live these values day in, day out.

Respect Adaptability Integrity Support Excellence

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