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Board Members

  • Claire Archbold
    Claire Archbold
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Claire Archbold is a barrister employed in Northern Ireland’s Government Legal Service, with a longstanding interest in family and relationship issues. Formerly an academic, her publications include “Unravelling the System: Divorce in Northern Ireland” (HMSO 1996), and she is a qualified family mediator.

  • Aidan Bennett
    Aidan Bennett
    Position: Vice-Chair Relate NI

    Aidan is a qualified Company Director with an IOD Diploma in Company Direction and BSc Hons in Advanced Management Practice. He is Managing Partner of both Data Analytics Labs, a specialist informatics company, and Cruarch Associates, a management consultancy practice. He has a strong background in Governance, Risk Management and Assurance, and is a qualified Management of Risk practitioner.

    Aidan also sits as a Non-Executive Trustee Director on the Board of Ulster Supported Employment Ltd (USEL) and brings a wealth of experience to the Boardroom stemming from 20 years of Director level engagements across both the Public and Private Sectors in Healthcare, Finance, HR, Payroll and IOT/Smart Cities.

  • Jill Downing
    Jill Downing
    Position: Chair Relate NI

    Jill is a solicitor who has specialised in family law for over 20 years. This includes divorce, children order proceedings both private law and public law. Jill has experience in advising on Domestic Abuse and has undertaken training with Women’s Aid. She is on the Law Society Children’s Order Panel and the Guardian ad Litem Panel to represent children in public law cases. Jill has also trained as a Collaborative lawyer and has worked with Family Mediation NI in promoting mediation. Jill also promotes and refers to child contact centres.

    Jill has been a partner in Magennis & Creighton Solicitors, Whiteabbey for 17 years.

    Jill has been involved with Relate for approximately 20 years. She promotes the role of counselling in her professional role and has supported the organisation in adapting to the  changing needs of individuals. As a Trustee of Relate and former Chair Jill has participated on many interview panels and assisted with the transitioning of new senior management positions. Jill has promoted Relate publicly at launches and conferences attended by the Minister of Health and other Health service representatives.

    Jill is also on the Board of Homestart North Belfast which befriends families with children under 5 years of age.

  • Brian Barry
    Brian Barry
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Brian is a qualified social worker and has recently retired as Director of Specialist Hospitals & Women’s Health in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

    Brian has some 40 years experience in both the statutory and voluntary sector. He has also worked voluntarily within the sector and has held Board level positions with a number of charities and community organisations.

  • Paul Rooney
    Paul Rooney
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Paul has a professional background in social work he is currently employed as a Professional Advisor with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. He has over thirty years’ experience working in a range of senior management leadership roles across a range of statutory and third sector organisations within health and social care, criminal justice and workforce regulation.

    He has developed extensive experience in the following areas: corporate governance, social enterprise, organisation development, safeguarding, serious incident review, service improvement and policy development across a range of programmes of care which include adult mental health, and learning disability, day care, high risk offenders, homelessness, child protection, residential and supported living services, probation, children’s disability, sensory services and brain injury and workforce regulation.

    Paul is passionate about improving the quality of health and social care services and has utilised his experience and expertise through a range of roles including Director of Adult Services – Extern, Assistant Director of Disability Services in CBCT Southern Area and as Principle Consultant at the Health and Social Care Leadership Centre (HSCLC) in developing and improving practice to improve the outcomes for people using services within health and social care and criminal justice.

  • Aisling Gallagher
    Aisling Gallagher
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Aisling is a communications professional who has been working at leading Communications agency Morrow Communications for 12 years.  As Producer/ Director she has worked on many and varied projects, from social media videos to educational productions for BBC Learning and QUB. Before joining Morrow Communications, Aisling was a print and broadcast journalist working across local outlets from the Irish News to BBC NI.  

  • Alison Grundle
    Alison Grundle
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Alison is a problem solver by nature and a business improvement consultant by training and experience. She has spent over 20 years delivering large scale transformation programmes within multi-national corporations. She took this experience into the Department of Justice when she became non-political Special Advisor to Justice Minister -Claire Sugden in the last short lived Assembly mandate. Alison is passionate about the societal importance of building and maintaining healthy relationships.

  • Natalie Dowey
    Natalie Dowey
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Natalie is an experienced finance and economic policy professional, specialising in the energy sector. She currently works in the Utility Regulator covering network regulation and policy development in electricity. Previously, Natalie worked in structured utility finance providing debt finance and advice to energy companies in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. She is also a qualified project manager.

  • Wesley Emmett
    Wesley Emmett
    Position: Board Member Relate NI

    Wesley joined the board of Relate NI in April 2018. 

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