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ValeFest 2017 Charities: BasicNeeds

By | Published March 31, 2017

Better Mental Health – Better Lives

Every year at The Vale Festival, the organisers select charities to support with 100% of the proceeds from the year’s ticket sales, having donated over £150,000 in years gone by. Since 2004 ValeFest, as Europe’s largest student-run charity music festival, has championed a number of worthy causes, last year being The Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Against Malaria Foundation. Following on from our look at ValeFest’s first announced charity to donate their 2017 proceedings to, RSVP (link to previous article here), here we delve into the organisation’s second choice of charity – BasicNeeds.

BasicNeeds, founded by Chris Underhill in 2000, works to improve the lives of people with mental illness and epilepsy, predominately focused on low and middle income countries. BasicNeeds is the largest international Non-Governmental Organisation (iNGO) working in this space and they state their mission is to enable people with mental illness or epilepsy and their families to live and work successfully in their communities.

Mental illness and epilepsy can be both a cause and a consequence of poverty and ill-health and can substantially interfere with the ability of people to function in families and in society. More than 450 million people globally suffer from some sort of mental illness and currently 75 percent of these people reside in the developing world. The problem facing BasicNeeds is that only 10 to 20 percent of these people receive any treatment. Mental illnesses and epilepsy are not a priority when it comes to international development efforts, and have taken a back seat to physical health; frequently being misunderstood, underfunded and considered taboo.

BasicNeeds’ solution is their Model for Mental Health and Development. This model combines health, socio-economic and community orientated solutions with changes in policy, practice and resource allocation. It is effective, locally owned and can be easily replicated and transferred into other places. The model offers care and support to sufferers and, if needed, treatment, as well as addressing the stigma and poverty so often associated with mental illness or epilepsy. By working in partnership with mentally ill people, rather than simply for them, BasicNeeds has built a model for recovery that is unique and effective.

The model comprises 5 core components; Capacity building (equipping people to work on mental health issues), Community mental health (developing accessible services), Livelihoods (creating opportunities for affected people), Research (generating and applying real-world guidance) and Collaboration (forging partnerships to improve mental health provision). Since its foundation, BasicNeeds’ model has helped hundreds of thousands of people with mental illness or epilepsy, their families and their carers in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Vietnam, Nepal, China, Pakistan, Laos and South Sudan.

BasicNeeds’ incredible work ensures that mental health is given the attention it deserves, particularly in low resource settings which lack the support and progress in mental health in more developed countries. Their unique combination of hands-on practical work and rigorous research and data collection gets the voices of those with mental illnesses or epilepsy heard on a local level and successfully increases the prominence of the issues on the global stage.

The difference made by BasicNeeds to the lives of those struggling with poverty and mental illness or epilepsy is tremendous and proves the charity to be a very worthy cause. Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people and so it is important for those of us in better circumstances within the community of the University of Birmingham to consider others who are struggling with the same issues in poorer conditions.



Contact information for BasicNeeds:


158A Parade
Leamington Spa
CV32 4AE,
United Kingdom


+44 (0) 1926 330101


Alternatively, fill in the contact form on their website and use the drop-down menu to select a purpose; Donate, Fundraise, Volunteer or Social Franchise.


RA tickets and General Release are now on sale!!! Follow this link to buy them:
Stay tuned with any ValeFest 2017 Updates via their FACEBOOK PAGE.

For our articles on their recent launch events at the end of last term, click here for part one at the Bristol Pear and here for part two at the Duck and Scholar. More articles on the build-up to ValeFest 2017 will be up soon so keep an eye on and Burn FM on Facebook for those as they come out!