Funding Opportunity: We love Teesside and the Tees Valley, but we recognise that there are issues and causes that have often been overlooked, and people and places that have been prevented from getting on and achieving their full potential.

The Tees is about championing our community, causes and culture but there are times because of our heart and passion for this place, when we also may need to challenge the way things are; expose the problems and explore better ways of doing things in order to see a better Tees Valley and better future for our communities. We recognise that stories are powerful ways to do this.

This is why we are launching “Community Commissions” to enable communities, charities, creatives, photographers, writers, content creators and film makers to tell alternative stories about the Tees Valley, to investigate the bigger, deeper issues and present ideas for how we could do things better. We will have rolling programme and successful commissions will be offered a small fee from between £50 for a photo casebook/ info graphics, £75 a 500 word article and £150 for a short video story.

We will continue to welcome content from those who are willing and able to donate stories, time and other material. But we understand the importance of providing resources for stories that aim to go deeper and require further investigation.
We are particularly interested in exploring ideas that may inspire, provoke and encourage a shift in the way we live in the world, to build a better, more equal and more hopeful Tees Valley.

To kick things off, we have identified five key themes we would be interested in receiving commissions around

1) Are We Equal?– Have equal rights for people in the Tees Valley been achieved, from women, LGBT, people of colour, those with disability – is everyone treated equally and is there equity, are people free from violence and discrimination? We are looking for thought pieces, stories and evidence to help us understand the answers to this question – Are we equal?

2) Hear my voice – What are the stories we are not hearing or seeing, whose voices are missing, we are looking to hear from people with lived experiences and understanding of some of the hidden issues in the Tees. Video and photo diaries, thought provoking tik tok stories, tell us your story.

3) Money Matters – Debt, welfare, employment and housing. Money affects all of us – many of us don’t have much of it and are caught in the trap of low pay, expensive housing, and living costs. Where are the shoots of hope, where are the pinch points, what needs to change or be better, what would a good economy look like, how can we more self sufficient?

4) Go Local – In a world of mass produced everything, can we go back to basics, in the way we live and consume, who are the local producers and creators, how are they surviving, what would a future look like that puts local first? We are looking for the ideas, people, products and provocations for a truly local economy.

5) People and Planet – The climate is collapsing and we are facing a crisis like we never could imagine, we want to know where is the hope, where are the issues, from green spaces, waste, to climate justice, what are the stories, ideas and issues that we should be hearing more of when it comes to protecting the planet and each other?

If you have an idea for a story that falls outside these themes but believe it will add to a deeper / bigger conversation about how we build a better Tees Valley then do still pitch.

Send us your pitch to with a couple of paragraphs, how much you would need to be paid and what medium you will be using to tell your story. We will endeavour to respond within 7 days. We also are keen to see collaborations too between photographers and writers, film makers and poets.