1V Woman of the Year 2018


The 1V Woman of the Year should be a role model to the Blackburn with Darwen community. She is someone who has endeavored to improve the local area. Her work should inspire others to make Blackburn with Darwen a better place. The 1V Woman of the Year must go beyond her paid role(s) to provide a real difference to the town or profession in which she serves. We will also accept nominations for women who have challenged gender prejudice, and created greater cohesion opportunities in Blackburn and Darwen.

Sharmin Iqbal

Sharmin Iqbal has been an inspiration to so many young people in Blackburn with Darwen, particular girls of a South Asian heritage. Sharmin has exercised leadership skills with local youth groups, in particular developing a number of key projects benefitting the young people of Blackburn and Darwen.

Sharmin has been involved in youth work for nearly a decade and she has been a vital participant and leader in community cohesion initiatives in Blackburn and Darwen.

Sharmin has also been involved in social action initiatives that have seen her raise concerns affecting young people. She has also represented Blackburn and Darwen youth both nationally and on a European level.

Sazeda Patel

Sazeda Patel is an inspiring woman. As well as being a mother-of-three, she also works full time. She has been a Scout Leader Woodbadge trained since 2012.

Sazeda has contributed to local and national scouting, being a leader in almost every section. She held a District role, representing ethnic views. She organised District events, for interaction. She held a National role, representing minority views to Scouts HQ and also helps other groups in Lancashire.

Sazeda ran a summer club in 2017 for children whose parents could not afford childcare. She planned lessons for children of all ages and abilities and donated many items towards the club herself.

Last year Sazeda was awarded an MBE for helping to break down cultural barriers with her scouts group and summer school camps in the town.

Jo Siddle

Jo Siddle is Headteacher of St Thomas’s Centre in Blackburn. In her leadership role, she oversees a dedicated team of teaching and support staff who work with students who are experiencing difficulties in the mainstream setting due to medical, social, emotional or behavioural needs. This is made possible by nurturing a working culture and ethos that all pupils are entitled to the very best education through a developed personalised curriculum delivered by highly dedicated, experienced and qualified staff.

Jo has also been instrumental in innovation across all schools in the Borough. Through her leadership amongst fellow school leads, Blackburn with Darwen school pupils joined together throughout 2016 and 2017 to create an innovative Peace Charter.  The Charter is a set of principles, developed and agreed by the pupils themselves, focusing on mutual respect and promoting community cohesion.

Sarah Subhani 

Sarah is a volunteer at Inspire, a drug and alcohol service for adults, families, carers, and others affected by misuse.

Sarah is a Peer Mentor and supports those that have been affected by drug and alcohol misuse. As an Asian female she has been able to reach communities that would otherwise be difficult to access. She has has also been able to work with people of all backgrounds in making a marked change in their lives.

Through a variety of media Sarah has pushed the message that drug and alcohol abuse need not be something to be ignored within BME communities, but rather those affected need the most help through accessing services such as Inspire.