Inside The Merchant’s House – with Mariella MacLeod Inside The Merchant’s House – with Mariella MacLeod Born in Malta, Mariella owns and runs Dickory Dock Concierge, a local concierge and lifestyle management business. As a Director and Chair of the Membership and Marketing committee she brings new members to the Merchants House and is enthusiastic about arranging new and exciting events to promote the House. She is a trustee of a number of other charities. Mariella is a JCI Senator, past JCI Vice President and past National President of JCI Malta. She is married to John and enjoys travel, good food, playing the piano and spending time with friends. When did you first become involved with the Merchants House? I first heard about it when I moved from Malta to Glasgow. I was genuinely surprised and extremely honoured when my good friend Morag Inglis invited me to join in 2008, after I had settled down in Glasgow and gone about setting up my own business. Morag felt that it would be a good chance for me to network since I hardly knew anyone apart from my husband John’s circle of friends. It gave me the confidence to get out there and meet people in my own right. I had left a full life with a good job back in Malta and I needed to start from scratch, so this was an excellent opportunity. Business, Friends and Networks Thanks to my involvement with the Merchants House, I have made many good, lasting friendships. I enjoy the camaraderie and the events. It has given me the chance to meet many interesting people from Glasgow and beyond. When I moved here I decided it was time to start my own business, which had always been my wish. I was on my own with my idea and benefited from the chance to tell people about it and to see their reaction, which thankfully was good! I enjoy the experience it has given me as a member, as the wife of a past Lord Dean, which was one of the highlights of my life, and now as a Director and Chair of the Membership & Marketing committee – we are here to help charities and individuals in need and being involved in the decision making and running of the House is an eye-opener to what the City needs. Thanks to my involvement with this Charity, I feel so much more at home in Glasgow than I ever hoped I would. As Chair of the Membership & Marketing committee I feel I need to use this platform to encourage you to join if you are inclined to making a positive change and to “give something back”. There is a joining fee of £125 and members are asked to donate £10 per month. It’s half that if you’re under forty. These donations are ring-fenced for charitable giving. The House and the Grand Hall There’s a lot I love about the building itself, which is on George Square and right across from the new Queen Street Railway Station. Not many know that the House owns the whole building and that all income from tenants is added to the charitable giving. My favourite part of the building is the Grand Hall - anyone who walks into the stunning hall cannot help but be impressed that it’s there, right in the middle of Glasgow! What makes it even more special is knowing that anyone who hires our venue for events, conferences and weddings, is enabling the House to continue helping those most in need in the city and surrounding areas. One of the events I enjoyed in the House was a fund-raising Afternoon Tea which we held one Sunday afternoon. The event raised over £5,000 and those who attended had the opportunity to listen to speakers who told us how the House helped them in their lives. Charitable Giving Despite the Merchants House being over 400 years old and Glasgow’s oldest social enterprise, I truly believe that it is still extremely relevant to this day as a voluntary organisation in the city and the west of Scotland. Bequests, subscriptions, regular giving and other contributions, many of which can be seen recorded on the walls of the Grand Hall, provide the core of the funds and have been used to generate an income for charitable assistance. The House has assisted many charities amongst them the Scottish Youth Dance, Renfrew YMCA, Give a Dog a Bone, Riding for the Disabled, Bobath Scotland, Alive & Kicking in Springburn, St. Vincent’s Hospice and many others – in fact the House has contributed over £2.5 million over the past five years alone. Our website at www.merchantshouse.org.uk makes it very easy for any charity to apply for funding online. Finally, people often ask how much time you’d need to give if you became a member – the truth is as much or as little as you wish. Just knowing that you are part of an organisation that is doing good should be a start! The rest will follow.