Equalities and Communities
Telephone: 0161 770 5738
Councillor Arooj Shah (external website) - Leader of Oldham Council & Cabinet Member for Reform & Regeneration.
Arooj has lived all her life in the Oldham borough. As of May 2023 she is back as Leader of the Council, after first serving as Leader from May 2021 to May 2022. She was the first Muslim woman to hold such a role in the North of England.
Arooj’s parents migrated from Pakistan in 1968 to work in the local textile industry. She is one of seven siblings and went on to study Politics and International Relations at DeMontfort University in Leicester.
As well as being Leader of the Council, Arooj is Oldham’s Cabinet Member for Reform & Regeneration. Within her portfolio she is has responsibility for reducing inequality and tackling poverty; Oldham’s ambitious regeneration plans; transport; and the overall borough strategy. This portfolio enables her to utilise her passion for tackling inequalities and championing social justice for all of Oldham’s communities.
Prior to becoming Leader, Arooj had served as Deputy Leader and held a number of Cabinet roles including being responsible for Covid-19 and pandemic recovery, neighbourhoods and communities.
In 2013, Arooj was named ‘Young Councillor of the Year’, alongside fellow Oldham councillors Amanda Chadderton and Sean Fielding, by the Local Government Information Unit.
She entered politics to give people strength and confidence in what they do so that they feel able to speak up and have a voice. She has also worked hard in encouraging local groups to have more control over-decision making in their communities and making them better places to live.