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Disgrrace - 32K in Lotto Money to Help Tramps Growl!
07 Jan 2007

A jazz singer has been given a 32,000 National Lottery grant to teach tramps to GROWL.

Phil Minton, 66, has been awarded the handout to help the homeless "find their inner voices".

His three-day workshops often involve him growling, hissing, barking, laughing and singing.

He also arranges concerts by "wild choirs" of tramps which have been described as a bizarre mix of "buzzing bees and the wind rustling through the trees".

The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta) - the body which makes the handouts - said it was an "attempt to give a voice to those who are not usually heard".

The workshops by Mr Minton, from Torquay, Devon, would benefit socially repressed groups, including London's homeless.

But Lib Dem Culture spokes-man Don Foster said last night: "I would need a huge amount of convincing that this is a sensible use of money.

"Unless there is any good evidence that this is really helping people, it makes me want to scream, frankly." Tory Philip Davies, who is on a Commons culture committee, said the project was "complete nonsense".

He added: "People see genuinely worthy causes in their communities denied lottery funding. Then they hear of money being wasted on projects like this. It brings the lottery into disrepute."

Nesta also came under attack for giving 35,000 to a firm to take photos of "camera shy" people with a hidden lens. Nienke Van Wijk, boss of Brighton-based Mirrorgraph, said: "People relax and feel free to be themselves."

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