I’ve often written in this column about those key things which make life possible – having a job, a home, keeping healthy. These are our building blocks and, as an MP, I am often involved in helping people to get these fixed.
But being human is about more than mere existence. There are many other elements to creating a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Family is probably up there at the top of the list. For some people it’s about having a purpose, doing something worthwhile. For others it’s about being able to do the things they enjoy – hobbies, holidays, or just time out with friends and family.
When I first became a Member of Parliament I was fortunate enough to be appointed as the Shadow Culture Minister. I got the opportunity to learn more about culture – something which my time in the army had not allowed me to do!
It made me realise that the arts are essential to our country. Not just because they help drive tourism and economic growth. But because they also provide a community resource, bringing people together and providing a way of telling our stories. They can showcase local talent and get us thinking about things from a different perspective. They can challenge, educate, make us laugh and make us cry. They can add that extra layer to our lives, above mere existence.
So that is why I have always been a keen supporter of our artistic offer here in Barnsley – from the Civic to the Cooper Gallery, the schools music service to the Barnsley Youth Choir.
And it is why I am holding an event at the Lamproom Theatre in a couple of weeks’ time, to help them raise funds for their refurbishment. This theatre owes its existence to the vision and dedication of local staff and volunteers who are passionate about bring drama and entertainment to our town. I want to support them in their mission.
So ‘An Evening with Dan Jarvis’ will see me talking about my life – from paratrooper to politician. And I will be joined by well known TV presenter, Christa Ackroyd, who will be fielding questions from the audience
I’m not promising anything highbrow. The audience might not be rolling in the aisles. And the critics most definitely won’t be praising my high artistic value. But I aim to make it honest, interesting and, above all, a useful contribution to the Lamproom’s fundraising efforts.
I hope you can join me.
‘An Evening with Dan Jarvis’ takes place at 7.30pm on Friday 4th July.
Tickets are £10 (£5 for concessions) and can be bought from the Lamproom Theatre on 01226 200075 or at: www.barnsleylamproom.com
This article was first published in the Barnsley Independent on Tuesday 24 June 2014.