SPEEDWAY promoter Matt Ford has given his backing to a Dorset’s children’s hospice – by launching the inaugural Poole Pirates - Julia’s House Business Fundraising Challenge.

The Poole Speedway owner confirmed details of the new scheme during the club’s official press and practice day, ahead of the 2014 Elite League campaign.

Mr Ford, who devised the idea especially for Julia’s House, hopes 10 major sponsors of the Pirates can raise vital funds for the charity during the speedway season.

The Pirates chief has given each of the 10 Pirates business backers a £50 starting fund, and has challenged them to come up with fundraising initiatives to substantially grow that pot.

All the money generated will go to Julia’s House and the winning fundraising team will receive a trophy during a presentation at the final home Pirates fixture of the season.

Mr Ford said: “I attended the Julia’s House open day last month and it is a wonderful charity, which does outstanding work throughout Dorset.

“We believe it is important to support local charities and by running the challenge, our sponsors will be able to put their expertise to fantastic use.

“I know our sponsors well and they are a highly-competitive bunch. I am sure they will come up with ingenious ideas to raise a great amount.”

The companies involved in the challenge are Coastal Aluminium, Wessex Marine, FIS Chemicals, Alan & Thomas Insurance, Meridian Lifts, Utility Advice Bureau, Sunrise, Aerosolutions, DWP Housing and Ego.

Julia’s House is dedicated to helping life-limited children and their families across the county by providing regular respite care at the hospice in Corfe Mullen and in their own homes.

The charity needs to raise £3.9m in 2014.

Ian Wadley, community fundraiser at Julia’s House, said: “This is a terrific, exciting scheme and we are delighted to have such great support from Pirates and their loyal sponsors.”