Converting pain to purpose: Bilqees Mauthoor appointed chair of Watford Borough Council


She’s done it.

Bilqees Mauthoor has been appointed chair of Watford Borough Council. On Tuesday, she was nominated by her peers during the Annual Council meeting at Watford Colosseum. She is the first female Asian chair in Watford council history. Her colleagues are confident that Bilqees will thrive in her new role, despite the increased responsibility.

During the meeting, Watford Mayor Peter Taylor expressed his delight that Bilqees had won the opportunity to lead. He singled her out as an individual who prioritises the needs of community residents and is capable of rising above party politics.

I am pleased that Bilqees will be the new chairman of Watford Borough Council. As councillor [Asif] khan said, she’s always someone who’s put the interest of residents first. I think it’s important to rise above party politics and Bilqees has been someone that has worked with all parties on Watford council on matters that are really important for people in the town such as loneliness, mental health and domestic abuse.

Mayor Peter Taylor

She thanked both old and new councillors for their contributions to her journey, as well as her family for their “love and support.” During her acceptance speech, she also admitted that the pandemic had struck particularly close to home. Bilqees revealed she faced difficulties with covid around the time she was informed of her selection as council chairman.

She said: “At the time I found out I was selected to be chairman for 2021/22 I was sick with covid and there was a point that I thought I would not make it.

“When you see your life flashing before you, it made me realise I had so much more to do in service and to aspire to make a better tomorrow. I made a promise that if I recovered, I would push myself that extra mile because everyone deserves to feel special and loved.”

As Mayor Peter Taylor alluded to, Bilqees is continuing to highlight the ‘important issues’ and few are more important than what she hopes to address in her time in the role.

Named ‘#Delete’, Bilqees announced that the theme for her year as council leader will address violence against women and young girls. She revealed that the campaign already has five grassroots charity partners on board. Dignify, Home-Start, and Watford Women’s Centre are among them. Their goal is to take an ‘action-oriented, education-focused’ approach to easing and raising awareness about the issue.

Inspired by the teachings of prophet Muhammad and the growing urgency surrounding gender based violence, Bilqees is hoping to achieve more through collective collaboration.

Bilqees was a participant in the most recent Pathway to Success programme, and her latest milestone was recognised by OBV COO Ashok Viswanathan: “Bilqees is leading from the front and puts her community before herself. It’s this new leadership that includes consultation, collectivism and collaboration that is so critically required by this generation and others that follow. As OBV alumni we applaud her achievements, aims and objectives.”




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