Evaluation of The Maze Marigold Project

January 1, 2000


This report presents the findings of an evaluation of The Maze Marigold Project, which works with girls and young women involved in prostitution in Spitalfields. The evaluation, which was undertaken as a co-operative venture between The Maze and CWASU, assesses the progress and performance of the Project against its stated values, aims and objectives, and makes recommendations for the future development of its work. Based on secondary data analysis, participant observation, and interviews with service users, project volunteers, project workers and also inter-agency partners, the report includes:

  • a background to the Maze Marigold Project with regard to current policy, contexts and agendas;
  • the Maze’s origins and developments;
  • its ‘joined up’ approach to working with young women in prostitution;
  • the Maze’s role in preventing and reducing crime;
  • an examination of early intervention and primary intervention strategies;
  • the role of the Maze within its community;
  • an exploration of the Maze as a model of good practice;
  • a consideration of areas for future development.

Main Findings:

  1. The evaluation found that the Maze Marigold Project has achieved excellence in its practice, and recommends that this model of ‘good practice’ be replicated elsewhere.
  2. The Maze is unique in its holistic, ‘joined up’ approach to the lives of young women involved in prostitution: it brings together service provision across a range of key interconnected issues to simultaneously tackle/respond to drugs, violence, homelessness, prostitution, care leavers, child protection and HIV/STDs.
  3. A key factor in enabling the Maze to put ‘joined up’ thinking into practice is its highly effective inter-agency working and partnership across a wide range of relevant organisations and services.
  4. The evaluation highlighted a number of successful innovations in partnership-working with local police that have resulted in significant improvements in law enforcement with regard to violence against service users.
  5. The Maze’s emphasis on primary prevention and early intervention was noted, including its drama-based work in schools and its focus on the youngest women on the streets.
  6. The research identified consistency and reliability with regard to project staff as key in building relationships with women on the streets and bringing about long-term change.
  7. A key element in the success of the Maze is that they work to create a belief in their service users that they are worth more than a life in prostitution. One important strategy in this is encouraging women to register for a University-validated qualification in community work, and supporting them with the required course work.
  8. The Maze demonstrates the benefits of user participation – plans and developments are discussed with women and user feedback is fully utilised.
  9. Unlike many other projects that aim to ‘regulate’ prostitution, reduction and prevention of prostitution lie at the heart of the Maze’s philosophy, and this has enabled it to be more effective in this field than most.
  10. Much of The Maze’s success lies in its clear core values, which recognise women in prostitution as whole people, with potential and the right to live free from violence and abuse, and to have access to redress and support when they are victimised.
  11. The Maze was found to be characterised by excellent team-working, both internally and externally.
  12. The evaluation found that all Maze volunteers felt that their career opportunities had been enhanced by their work, while the Maze itself benefited greatly from their skills and resources.

See Research Report: Worth Less or Worth More? An Evaluation of the Maze Marigold Project

Grant Holder: CWASU

Sponsor: YWCA

  • Project Team:
    Liz Kelly, Rachel Wingfield, Val Balding