Jason was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. With a comprehensive school education behind him, he spent 25 years working in local government in the county before redundancy hit in 2010. After a year working at the University and College Admission Service (UCAS), he moved to Forest Gate in East London to set up home with his wife, Sarah, and stepson, Marc.
His wife’s job in education brought the family to Portsmouth where they settled in Baffins ward in 2013. Since then Jason has worked for Portsmouth City Council, a local waste management firm and set up a theatre set-building and scenery company, based in Havant. He now works part-time as a professional actor and part-time at Whiteley Shopping Centre.
Jason’s love of theatre and the arts has led to appearances on television and in major films as a lead or supporting actor, as well as in performances in many stage productions in Gloucestershire, Portsmouth and Hayling Island, where he is currently on the Board of Directors at The Station Theatre.
Jason said: “Theatre and the arts is a major passion and to have had the opportunity to perform a number of times at the beautiful Kings Theatre has been a highlight for me. I’m keen to ensure that venues like this, as well as all areas of drama and the arts, continue to flourish locally.”
In addition to his love of all things in the arts, Jason’s varied work experiences have given him an insight into many of the everyday difficulties a lot of people are having to face. This has been particularly true when it comes to social issues and pressures involving housing, low income, poverty and deprivation.
He says: “I have probably seen more than I should when it comes to how people have to regularly face hardships and pressures through lack of finances, opportunities and support. That’s why I’m driven to help as many people as I can to make their voices heard on all social issues, offering them an avenue of support they really feel they can reach out to. I want to see all forms of inequality disappear: such as racism, examples of harassment and unfair treatment, across all walks of life and we need to ensure that inclusion remains high on the agenda in all schools.”
Anti-social behaviour and petty crime is another problem area that Jason is keen to see reduce.
Jason says: “A lot of petty crime happens because it’s a means to an end for those committing it. I’d like to see an end to this, but that can only be achieved by finding out what drives people to do it in the first place and minimising the causes. I believe education and opportunity are key here. If, for example, young people had somewhere to go where they could use their artistic skills to express themselves, without resorting to graffiti on somebody’s house, garage door, garden wall or local bus shelter, it would give them somewhere they could feel engaged with and invested in. If they are valued, they may start to value in return and we may start to make some inroads. Let’s work with them, not against them. The same values could also apply to certain other aspects of some petty crime and anti-social behaviour. Giving people a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, can go a long way to changing behaviour.”
Whilst still being a devoted Cheltenham Town fan, he says: ‘Pompey fans will understand, I’m sure…’. Jason now sees Baffins very much as his home. He says: “I don’t think I will ever move anywhere else. I love living in Portsmouth. When we moved here, we didn’t know one single person, but we have so many friends here now and people we love, it would be difficult to leave all that behind. Because it’s home, and has felt this way for some time, I want to represent the people in Baffins and campaign for a better future for them, for Portsmouth and the ward I live in and love so much.”