THIS is the scene of utter devastation after a fire gutted an education provider on the outskirts of York.

As The Press reported at the time, the blaze ripped through Ad Astra on Elvington Industrial Estate at 4.44am on Tuesday (December 5).

The business is an alternative education provider that allows young people to study a range of vocational skills and complete functional skills qualifications and now they need your help.

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York Press: The fire has left them with nothingThe fire has left them with nothing (Image: Supplied)

Over the last eight years, Sam and Lyz Shaw have built up an alternative learning environment for youngsters who need additional support in a variety of different ways.

Ad Astra’s activities include animal care, horticulture, health and fitness programs, mechanics, and construction. In addition, they provide a robust educational package covering subjects such as maths, English, and PSHE, equipping young people with the essential tools for a successful future.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation and an insurance claim has been put in, it could take weeks or even months before the firm has the funds to replace everything they have lost.

York Press: This is the scene of utter devastation after a fire gutted education provider Ad Astra at Elvington Industrial Estate in YorkThis is the scene of utter devastation after a fire gutted education provider Ad Astra at Elvington Industrial Estate in York (Image: Supplied)

Kate Frankish, head of provision, said it has been was particularly distressing for staff as small animals including rabbits and guinea pigs perished in the blaze.

She said: "We are devastated at the loss of our lovely provision. We've lost a mechanics workshop, a construction workshop, a small animal space, teaching classrooms, an ICT suite, two sensory rooms, extensive communal spaces, a sports hall, kitchen, dining room and offices. 

"Whilst we are working hard to put provision in place, we literally have nothing left. We were in the process of establishing relationships with Beetlebank Farm, St Nick's and TCV.

"We're hoping those organisations can bridge some gaps for us by providing opportunities for our learners in small animal care, land-based learning and construction - such as our learners building raised planters and assembling garden structures."

York Press: The firm has lost everythingThe firm has lost everything (Image: Supplied)

Kate continued: "We think we have secured a space for the post-16 learners to keep their academic lessons going. 

"This will allow us to continue teaching maths and English Functional Skills and GCSEs to our older learners.

"However, we need a base for our pre-16 learners. Ideally,  we're looking for somewhere with a kitchen, toilet and maybe some space for a game of football.

"Our pre-16 groups join us for breakfast before heading out on activities. It's really important that they feel they have a 'base' to begin and end the day at. 

"All our selection boxes, which were bought on Monday, were destroyed in the fire, as were all the individual Christmas cards we had written for the learners."

On the day North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service advised residents nearby to keep their windows and doors closed due to smoke from the fire. They had eight fire appliances, an aerial ladder platform and a water bower in attendance.

York Press: The cause of the blaze is under investigationThe cause of the blaze is under investigation (Image: Supplied)A JustGivingPage has been set up to help raise funds for Ad Astra:

Kate can be contacted on 07873 225426 and the firm's website is

York Press: The scene after the fireThe scene after the fire (Image: Supplied)