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An interview with the new Lord Dean, Andrew McFarlane

The new Lord Dean of the Merchants House, Andrew McFarlane, discusses the role, current challenges, and why he’s encouraging people to join as members.  

The Merchants House of Glasgow is the oldest social enterprise in the city, and raises significant funds to help those in need across the city and the West of Scotland. The cost of living crisis means the pressure has never been greater, and the Lord Dean is focused on ensuring the long term sustainability of the House so it can continue to provide this vital support for many years to come. 

The Merchants House has always drawn members from a wide range of business and professional backgrounds, including lawyers, accountants and engineers. However, the new Lord Dean believes he is the first Chartered Surveyor to hold the role in the over 400 year history of the institution. Born in Motherwell in 1958, and educated there and later at the Glasgow College of Building & Printing and Robert Gordon University, the Lord Dean has over 40 years experience as a Chartered Surveyor with DM Hall, where he earned a reputation as a problem solver and someone adept at building long-term relationships with his clients.

Despite technically being retired, the Lord Dean continues to do some work for his practice. His commitment to public service and helping others stretches beyond the Merchants House too; he also serves as a Tribunal Judge and as a trustee for several other organisations. How does he find the time? Simple, he says, he doesn’t watch TV! 

The Lord Dean’s involvement with the Merchants House began over 20 years ago, and he has become increasingly engaged over time, prior to his current appointment he served as Vice Dean to the first female Lord Dean, May Storrie CBE. 

Ensuring the sustainability of the Merchants House

The Lord Dean wishes to use his two year tenure to initiate a longer term plan ensuring the sustainability of the organisation. This will include strengthening existing relationships with other bodies in Glasgow such as the Trades House and the City Chambers. He wants to work together more and collaborate on projects to make sure they have as great an impact as possible. 

Another priority is to increase the diversity within the Merchants House. He wants to ensure that the organisation is representative of the community it serves and is actively seeking individuals from different backgrounds and professions to join. He recognises the importance of minority groups seeing people like themselves represented within the organisation. 

He also plans to review the Merchants House’s charitable giving strategy and find new ways to raise funds. He acknowledges that there is a greater need in the community, and with rising costs too, the organisation needs to explore new avenues for fundraising.

An exciting opportunity

Overall, the Lord Dean is excited about the opportunity to lead the Merchants House and make a positive impact on the community. He is driven by his personal values of helping others and is committed to building on the past successes of the organisation while also adapting to the changing needs of the community. With his vision and dedication, the Lord Dean is well-equipped to guide the Merchants House into the future and ensure its continued legacy of support and service.

If you would like to meet new people and contribute to the success of a charity helping people in need across Glasgow, you can find out more about Merchants House membership here

Image: The Lord Dean, Andrew McFarlane