A Swedish publishing company based in Lochalsh is at the centre of a row which has resulted in the departure of two youth workers from a local charity.
In February 2018, Marianne Rugard Jarvstrat, the chief executive of Mossytop Dreamharvest Ltd, offered funding to Lochalsh Youth Community Trust for a full-time youth worker. MDL is the parent company of Bombadil Publishing, which claims to publish and market books for young people aged between 12 and 16.
The successful applicant was to work on behalf of the LYCT but Ms Jarvstrat was to employ the youth worker to save the trust the time and cost overheads of being an employer as she already had a payroll system set up for her existing company.
A statement from LYCT said: “At the end of several meetings between the LYCT and Marianne Jarvstrat a job advert was placed in the West Highland Free Press on 26th April 2018 for a youth worker and at the end of the subsequent interviews held in May, Marianne Jarvstrat offered to employ not only a full-time youth worker but also a part-time youth worker to work out of her company office in Dornie. Both took up employment with her company on the 1st August 2018.
LYCT was extremely happy with the arrangement and grateful to Marianne Jarvstrat for the support and was able to expand both the range and type of activities on offer to the young people of the area.
“However, in November 2018 Marianne Jarvstrat terminated the contract of the part-time youth worker citing contractual differences and in February of this year she informed the LYCT that she could no longer afford to employ the full-time youth worker who has now left her employment.
”The termination of employment of the youth workers has been a source of stress and upset for both and now means the LYCT has to unexpectedly look for funding from other sources to continue its range of activities or else have to cut back on the services it can offer the young people of the area. The short-term and arbitrary nature of the support offered has had a major impact on the activities and long-term plans of the LYCT.”
It is also understood that a number of local firms are pursuing Mossytop Dreamharvest Ltd who are based in the former Graham House care home for debts they say remain outstanding.
The Lochalsh publishing company at the centre of a row over the axing of support for two youth worker posts will be relocating to Singapore on 1st April.
Marianne Rugard Jarvstrat, the chief executive of Dornie-based Mossytop DreamHarvest Ltd, also told the Free Press that her company had secured a “million new subscribers in a single month” so they were all away to continue their good work in the far east on April Fool’s Day.
Lochalsh Youth Community Trust confirmed last week that their part-time and full-time youth worker posts had been discontinued because MDL cut the funding. Problems of not receiving wages were reported by both post-holders.
It also emerged this week that one of the subsidiaries trading under the MDL umbrella, Bombadil Publishing Ltd, went into liquidation for bad debts in March 2016. Its last known address was in Doncaster.
There are also unconfirmed reports that local tradespeople in Lochalsh are owed substantial amounts by MDL, although Ms Rugard Jarvstrat dismissed this as “Dornie gossip.”
In 2015 Bombadil Publishing was given a grant of £100,000 by Scottish Enterprise, which issued a press release stating that this money would “create 14 new jobs over the next three and half years by using” Bombadil’s online manuscript support system MageQuill as an educational tool for students.
On Wikipedia, the entry for Bombadil Publishing states that it is a franchise operation present in 11 countries. Published books are “primarily sold on the publisher’s website and advertised by word-of-mouth, although in some cases they can be bought in shops.”