A SINGLE father is taking on a triathlon challenge for two local charities which have supported him and his family.

Gareth Jenkins is competing in the Tri-Windermere Triathlon on Sunday to raise funds for Home-Start Ryedale and Hope Central which helps coordinate the Ryedale Food Bank.

The 33-year-old, lives in Malton with his daughter Laeceisha, 4, and sees his older children, Codie, 9, and Dylan 8, on alternate weekends.

He said: "During the past two years, life has been difficult for me but I have received support from both Home-Start Ryedale and Hope Central and their support has been life-changing – helping me to become a happy and successful single dad.

"I wanted to give something back to them to say thank you for everything they have done for me – and thought I’d give this a go."

Gareth said his training had given him a more positive outlook on life and he hoped to eventually get a part-time job as becoming a volunteer for Home-Start Ryedale.

"There is not a lot out there for other dads and they tend to think they have to handle things and deal with problems but they need to know there are some outlets which will help them and I want to get that message across," he added.

"Both charities helped me in lots of ways and have enabled me to look after my daughter as well as seeing my older two on a regular basis."

Starting at at 7.30am, the triathlon includes a 1500m swim in Lake Windermere, followed by 43km bike ride and then a 10K run.

In preparation, Gareth has been training at the Workhouse Gym in Market Street, Malton which has allowed him to use the facilities without charge.

Manager Elis Bucher, said: “Gareth has embraced his training with enthusiasm and what he has achieved is amazing. He’s determined to finish the race and I’ve every confidence in him to do so."

Jo Oliver, co-ordinator of “Home-Start Ryedale, said that Gareth was 'truly inspirational'.

“Gareth stood up at our last AGM and announced that he was going to complete a triathlon to raise much needed funds for ourselves and Hope Central – we were completely bowled over and simply cannot believe the challenge that he has set himself," she added.

“We wish him the very best of luck and would like to say a huge thank you to him and everyone sponsoring him and supporting Home-Start Ryedale. We may have had a lottery award recently but we still have considerable fund raising to do so every penny raised counts.”

To sponsor Gareth visit http://www.justgiving.com/teams/garethjenkins