The Estonian Guild in London is a growing network and a vibrant community linking Estonians living and working in the United Kingdom. The Guild was founded in November 2009 by a group of enthusiastic Estonians with the support of the Estonian Embassy in London and Enterprise Estonia.
Its prime objective is to encourage contacts and share information and ideas about Estonia, Estonians and their activities through the medium of organised events and functions. Each event has a fresh up to date theme, with new speakers, and a professional outlook. Different venues are used on each occasion. In the four years of its existence, the Guild has organised more than 50 events, advertised through a mailing list of over 1,200 people, of which more than 350 have joined the Guild’s online communications network.
The Guild is run by volunteers who give up their own time freely, and with minimal paperwork and bureaucracy. Guild events have been regularly reported by the Estonian media, including Estonian TV, the national press and news websites.
The main objective is that of organising interesting and meaningful events in London for the Estonian community. The Guild holds regular themed events in central London, and they are usually free of charge to all. Speakers and participants come from both Estonia and from Great Britain. These have included – politicians and government officials (Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, former Finance Minister Taavi Veskimägi and MEP Tunne Kelam), entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, celebrities from the world of culture and media (writer Andrus Kivirähk, singer Liisi Koikson) and students. In its four years, the Guild has organised dozens of presentations, networking events and jazz concerts as well as the official Estonian London 2012 Olympics party. The Guild revived the Estonian Christmas market and, in collaboration with others, has helped to organise both the Independence Day commemoration (24th February) and the Midsummer’s Day celebration in June. Guild networking events regularly attract up to 100 people, with more than 400 attending national celebrations.
- The Guild has a mailing list of more than 1,200 addresses by which events and other information is advertised. If you have an event, which would interest the Estonian community, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The website prominently displays a section for advertisements. The homepage also carries news from the Embassy, information about community events as well as news content from the Estonian World and Eesti Hääl newspapter online sites.
- A new interactive communications network has been created with the aim of facilitating speedy interaction between users. This network allows users to create their own profile, surf other entries and contacts, and publicise their activities, products and services to the community .
- The Guild also responds with advice to those from Estonia seeking information about living in the UK.
- Naturally the Guild is also on Facebook.
The promotion of Estonian business in the UK
In addition to regular communication between Estonians in the UK, the Guild also focuses on promoting Estion businesses. The Guild has encouraged and assisted the setting up and expansion of businesses in the UK. Co-operation with the Enterprise Estonia in London commenced in the autumn of 2010 with the aim of organising a series of workshops designed to support Estonian entrepreneurs. The Guild also hosts the very popular annual series “Who is in the Guild?” with the objective of linking those with an interest in the British market with those who have already set up business here.
Maintaining Estonian culture in the UK
To further this important objective, the Guild co-operates with other Estonian organisations, organising joint events and discussing important issues on this topic. The Guild has provided assistance in the development of websites for other organisations as well as advertising their events and fund-raising campaigns.
Publicising Estonia in London and the UK
Guild activity is not only for Estonian residents or visitors to London. It plays an equally important role by publicising Estonia and its positive strengths to a wider British audience in London and elsewhere. In fact up to a third of participants at larger events comprises of non-Estonian friends, colleagues and family as well as Estophiles. In this way the Guild ensures that it is directly involved in promoting Estonia in the UK.
Our friends and partners
The following organisations assist and help the Guild – the Estonian Embassy in the UK, the London Estonian School, the London Estonian Society, the Estonian Educational Trust in the UK, the London Estonian House, the British-Estonian Trade Association, the British-Estonian Association, the Association of Estonians in Great Britain, Enterprise Estonia as well as many local organisations who assist the Guild in organising events.
The Guild was formed in 2009 by Sten Saar, Heleri Randi, Anneli Kimber, at that time the press secretary at the Embassy, Leemet Paulson, the Estonian Consul and Tiina-Maria Väravas, the representative of EAS in the UK. At present the organisation and functions of the guild are carried out on a voluntary basis by six main players: Agor Eiskop, Anneli Kimber, Kadi Link, Liina Särkinen, Liis Nigu and Sten Saar. The official photographer for the Guild is Rena Iqbal.
The Guild can be contacted via e-mail: email@example.com
Although the website and the promotion of events is mostly in Estonian, all English-speaking friends of Estonia are always welcome to the Guild’s events. If you need any further information, please contact us.