Secret Sheikh


Hundreds of disadvantaged children, sick children and refugee and asylum seeker children will have a much better EID this year thanks to an initiative to promote inclusion in Blackburn and Darwen.

The Women’s Network ladies finish packing the bags to be given out on Eid

Secret Sheikh” is a joint project between One Voice Blackburn and Secret Santa Ltd. It was inspired because each Christmas many Muslims would help Secret Santa staff pack their sacks with presents for the most disadvantaged children across Blackburn and Darwen and many Muslims also donated to our cause.

“This was on the basis of humanity rather than religiousness” said Phil Boulding, founder of Secret Santa.

“We wanted to repay their kindness against the slur that “Blackburn is a divided community” we don’t believe it is, so by giving Muslim children presents at an important time in their lives, which of course is EID was important to us. As is Community cohesion, which is exactly the space that One Voice Blackburn operate within.”

To raise funds the group have conducted sponsored swims, a 5-day Ramadan fast and a family Fun day, which was held at Bangor St community Centre. Many individuals and organisations have donated money to the cause. Pleckgate Academy and Westholme Juniors also collected toys to be distributed to the children on Eid.

One Voice Blackburn’s Women’s Network have packed hundreds of ‘Eid’ bags which are ready to go out in the week leading up to Eid, which is expected to be announced as 5th or 6th June. The women’s group have also donated items and have been an integral part of Secret Sheikh.

Isma Sajid, Women’s Network Lead of One Voice Blackburn said,

“We are privileged to have joined Phil, Karen and the team at Secret Santa in this wonderful project. Our groups supported Secret Santa over Christmas and so it is fitting that we do something for Eid to show the inclusive nature of our community. Ultimately the real beneficiaries will be the disadvantaged and sick children of all communities.”

Phil Boulding added,

“We would like to thank the generosity of all communities in this project. Everyone has been so overwhelmingly positive about Secret Sheikh. We shall be repeating Secret Santa and Secret Sheikh for the conceivable future each and every year.”

The Eid gifts will be distributed a week before Eid to local hospitals, schools, community groups, and religious venues.