A former Scotland rugby star has called on Scots to help fund a new school building for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

Former national team captain and record scorer Chris Paterson said that young people cared for at Seamab School “shouldn’t have less than other children”.

Seamab currently operates from a converted country house near Kinross. The charity provides residential care and education services for young people from across the country, with funding provided by local authorities who are unable to meet a child’s needs in council-run settings.

The organisation is aiming to raise £5.5m in order to construct a purpose-built facility as the existing building is no longer suitable. As Seamab is technically an independent institution, it cannot benefit from initiates such as the Schools for the Future programme, which provides central funding for schools to be rebuilt or refurbished.

Plans have been developed for a new school to be built alongside the existing site, allowing the charity to retain its quiet, rural location. Once complete, the school will include larger classrooms with access to outdoor areas, a dedicated gym hall, quiet spaces, a significant increase in toilet facilities, and more.

The campaign, which has been running for just over a year, has so far raised more than £4m thanks to a number of philanthropic donations and successful applications to more than a dozen charitable trusts. A £200,000 grant and £800,000 loan from Social Investment Scotland has also recently been secured.

READ MORE: Kieron Achara visits SEAMAB school for vulnerable children

Seamab has also benefitted from more than £400,000 of pro-bono support from architects and contractors brought together by Chris Stewart, the charity’s chair and the CEO of a private real estate firm.

He told The Herald that he is “so grateful to everyone who has backed the campaign”, adding that the generosity has been “tremendous.”

“Seeing is believing and anyone who comes to see the school can not only see it simply isn’t fit for purpose, but that there’s a huge need for what it provides. I would welcome any funder, business owner or elected official to come to visit Seamab.

“Our tremendous staff are doing what they can to provide the best possible education to these pupils. But it’s in a dated residential building that simply isn’t good enough.

“Pupils don’t have access to a gym hall and the classrooms are former bedrooms which aren’t big enough. These children need somewhere appropriate to learn, play, socialise, and exercise.

“These children have experienced a traumatic start to life, and often chaotic living and educational circumstances. We are driven to make sure they can learn and develop in a safe, secure and caring environment to take positive steps in their futures.”

READ MORE: Cuddles on the curriculum At Seamab School

Chris Paterson, who is an official ambassador for the charity, said:

“Since I became involved earlier this year, I've been lucky enough to meet the children Seamab supports on a daily basis. They shouldn’t have less than other children have. They deserve a school that serves their needs.

“It’s in Scotland’s values to tackle inequality and unfairness. What these children have experienced is unfair and it’s our responsibility as a nation to do whatever we can to help give these kids a chance, and to make sure there’s a place for children who need this additional support long into the future.”

“Most of the ingredients are there. The surroundings are magnificent, and the teachers are incredibly caring and patient. The children just need a school building where they can grow and develop.”