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October 6 2020

sheila’s volunteering story

Sheila McCosh is part of our wonderful volunteer team in Horatio’s Garden Scotland.

Throughout lockdown and the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, all our volunteers have been absolutely incredible, doing whatever they can to support the charity. Whilst some, like Sheila, have been tending to the gardens, others have been busy at home crafting and hosting Zoom sessions for patients, with some also giving up their time to assist NHS staff in the spinal centres.

Despite Horatio’s Garden being established in order to support people, their loved ones and NHS staff affected by spinal injury, it’s also about encouraging everyone to seek solace in nature.

For our volunteers, spending time amongst the planting is as important and as beneficial to them as it is to the people they are supporting.

Sheila wished to share a little more about how Horatio’s Garden has helped her by writing this thoughtful story.


“During the lockdown weeks of Covid-19, I kept to myself, gave people in the street a wide berth, and disinfected everything I brought into my flat. I’m not in a vulnerable category, but was paranoid about the risk of Covid. 

However, as the weeks went by, and it became clear that all possible steps were being taken to ensure the safety of anyone who might go into Horatio Garden, so I started to consider when I could go back. 

Finally, at the end of July, having read and re-read all the information that had been sent out by email, I decided to go. 

As soon as I went through the east gate, I immediately felt that I was in a safer and cleaner environment than most other places I had been to, such as the supermarket, or even when just walking through the village I live in. 

No matter where I was in the garden, there were sanitiser stations and reminder notices to keep hands clean. 

I was met by Sallie who explained the procedures for entering the buildings, for example to go in the courtyard or use the toilet, and where to collect a mask and sanitiser (I had worn my own mask to go into the garden and a disposable glove to open the gate). She made it clear that if at any time I had any reservations about going to a particular area or carrying out a particular task, I was just to say. There was no sense of pressure to have to do anything or go anywhere.  She also went over all the protocols that have been put in place and explained how to keep myself safe and everything I touched clean and sanitised. 

That first morning, I only stayed for an hour or so, but I left the garden feeling more relaxed thaI had in many weeks. The sense of calm and wellbeing from that brief time in the garden gave me hope for the future and a belief that although life might not return to normal for some time, there is indeed a way to learn to live with Covid19 and enjoy being alive. 

Since then I’ve been going to the garden each week and always return home feeling relaxed and happier.” 

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