The new service will offer advice and support to UK cultural organisations wanting to broker effective European and international partnerships.

The European Commission’s seven-year funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors has been launched in the UK with €1.46bn available to the audio-visual, cultural and creative industries. The Creative Europe programme will be delivered through the UK’s ‘Creative Europe Desk’, a new partnership between the BFI (The British Film Institute) and the British Council. It combines the European Commission’s existing Culture and MEDIA Programmes and is expected to benefit over 300,000 cultural professionals and reach 100 million European citizens. To help promote the programme and to provide information and advice to support applications, the European Commission is funding a ‘Creative Europe Desk’ in all member states. This new service replaces the former MEDIA Desk UK (delivered by the BFI) and Antennae (Glasgow and Cardiff), and the UK Cultural Contact Point (delivered by Visiting Arts). Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, said: “We’re excited to enter into this new partnership with the British Council to help ensure that entrepreneurial professionals across the UK can access and benefit from support through Creative Europe, to help UK film, culture and creativity continue to thrive.”

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, said: “We share the European Commission’s view that international exchange and collaboration in the arts and the creative industries supports the prosperity of the sector, while promoting understanding between cultures. As well as providing advice and support to organisations in the UK, we will be able to use our global network of offices to help broker effective European and international partnerships.” From 2016, the programme will also feature the ‘Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Fund’ worth €121m, which will see Creative Europe underwrite bank loans to creative businesses, helping to unlock private finance to support the continued growth of the creative industries and to educate the financial sector about the benefits of backing creativity.

Led by the British Council and BFI, Creative Europe Desk UK will bring together partners from across the UK including Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government, and will see the establishment of a dedicated information office in each of the UK’s nations, and in one of the English regions outside of London. Creative Europe opened on 1 January 2014 and will run until 31 December 2020.

Elizabeth Hunt