Grievance and The New Normal Charity - Benjamin May
Man Up / Man DownJune 08, 2023x
49:1345.08 MB

Grievance and The New Normal Charity - Benjamin May

In today’s episode we welcome Benjamin May, the founder of the charity The New Normal. Another highly inspirational tale for a number of reasons. Ben didn’t have the most positive start in life.

He was expelled from school at the age of 10 and ended up with a criminal record. Ben’s parents were getting a divorce and one of his teachers cruelly told him that “parents who get a divorce, don’t love their children”. 

Ben was obviously upset and planned his revenge. He waited for a little while, called the teacher at home, and left threats on her answering machines, in a voice that he didn’t think the teacher would recognise. Unfortunately she did, and 10 year old Ben was arrested and put in a cell.

At that point he was told that he doesn’t have any hope in life. The minute he went to secondary school, everyone knew who he was - he was the 10 year old that had been arrested. He was also diagnosed as being dyslexic, but wasn’t supported properly, and left school with poor grades.

Not knowing what he wanted to do, his mum recognised his creative side and suggested he enter the hair industry and he never looked back. Starting as a colourist Ben won many awards but never received praise from his bosses. He then became a barber on the Isle of Dogs, realising that he thrived on the conversation’s with customers.

Sadly Ben’s father died. However this tragedy sowed the seed for The New Normal.One day a new client walked into Ben’s barbershop. During the conversation Jack revealed his father had recently passed away. As it was still just two years since Ben’s father had died, he could relate.

The two started hanging out on a regular basis, going to gigs and football matches. Jack’s mental health took a downturn and he turned to therapy. During treatment Jack mentioned his close relationship with Ben and how helpful their conversations had been.

Jack’s therapists asked Jack if he and Ben had considered starting a talking group. They decided to give it a go. In May 2018 they launched the first ever Good Grief meeting. 

After booking a room and then posting on social media, they didn’t think anyone would turn up.

But they did.

That meeting formed the basis of the charity they founded, The New Normal. From a North London community centre to a global charity that reaches many parts of the world. The New Normal now hosts 25+ meetings a month. What they do is support different communities and try and combat loneliness.

The challenges people discuss is no longer just about helping those going through bereavement. The New Normal Charity now has groups focusing on people of colour, LBGTQ+, young carers, students and so on; some groups focus on mental health and wellbeing, one for people over 40 called Grey Matters, Boys and Girls talks. Ride and Run clubs. 

All meetings are online and anyone going through training and checks can run a group and anyone can be part of a group. What Ben and Jack envisage is to create spaces globally for people to speak and exchange. They have launched in France France and US and China are on the roadmap.

Ben’s whole working life has been about holding space for others, learning how to communicate and seeing the impact of simple, straightforward conversations. We can’t wait to hear what the future holds.


Please check out The New Normal Charity

On Instagram you can find them on @TNNCharity and @ldn_brbr

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.