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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 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 qualified as a chartered accountant, was an investment banker and then a partner of big4 accounting firm EY.


Cliff Fry, Non-Executive Director

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


Kate Bradbury, Company Secretary

Kate’s association with Five Rivers Child Care spans over 20 years; initially practicing 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

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.

Prior to working on the Board of Five Rivers Child Care, Ben had extensive experience working within the facilities management sector in a variety of board-level finance roles. 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. Her management role for Barnados in the ’90s confirmed her desire to specialise within fostering where her career moved between both the public and independent sectors, before joining Five Rivers Child Care in 2012. 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

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. Deirdre is from a large Irish family and enjoys cooking, sport and family get-togethers.

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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