Josh Mitchell from All Saints Vicarage has impressed his support workers and loved ones by using the lockdown to develop new gardening skills.

Service Manager Matthew Bell was concerned about how Josh, 28, would cope when the lockdown began and his usual day service was closed.

But, although Josh missed his day service friends and favourite staff, he threw himself into new pursuits outdoors.

Over the weeks, he’s become a keen gardener and helped out in the service grounds, explored the area around All Saints and even enjoyed a game of socially-distanced football.

Matthew said that he’d been incredibly impressed by Josh’s resilience and his positive attitude to trying new things.

Matthew said: “Josh’s life changed overnight when the lockdown began, as it did for all of us.

“I was worried that he’d struggle because he couldn’t do his usual rambles around Durham, head off to his favourite restaurants or see his pals.

“But Josh has been incredible, he’s got involved in lots of new things and kept upbeat throughout.

“I’m so proud of him for his patience, his resilience and his positive attitude.”

Over the weeks, Josh has been able to keep in touch with Jamie, one of his favourite day service staff. When it was safe to do so, Jamie came over to All Saints to have a kick around with Josh in the garden.

Of course, it was important for Josh’s support team and loved ones to explain what was happening with the coronavirus and how to keep healthy.

Some information was held back so that Josh didn’t get too anxious, but he took in everything he needed to know and has been mature about dealing with the hygiene measures.

Matthew said: “Josh worries a lot about the people he loves getting poorly, so we didn’t want to overburden him with information.

“Instead, we’ve been able to explain what he needed to know, and he’s been incredibly sensible about protecting himself from germs and keeping up with his hand hygiene.

“Josh has done exceptionally well in all ways, and we are all very impressed with how he’s coped.”