Jayne WILSON – Salvation Army, Wollongong


Salvation Army, Wollongong Corps.


December 2013


a strong supporter of Police in the Illawarra

Jayne Wilson, community program manager at The Salvation Army Wollongong. (Photo: Shairon Paterson)
Jayne Wilson, community program manager at The Salvation Army Wollongong. (Photo: Shairon Paterson)

 Jayne Wilson



Jayne Wilson: Leader’s legacy of words, deeds

There was a working bistro and kitchen and Mrs Wilson came on board to run a hospitality training program for unemployed people.

She noticed that many of those people had addiction issues and soon started an addiction counselling service to help them – but she didn’t stop there.

‘‘She noticed there was a lot of assistance for people with addiction issues but little for the families of the people who were in addiction,’’ Mr Simpson said.

‘‘So she started something that was quite new at the time. She started running support programs for the children of people in addiction, the partners and the parents, and the grandparents.’’

That was the known as the First Floor Restoration Program, which has since been replicated by the Salvation Army in Sydney, Canberra and Canada.

Salvation Army Wollongong Captain Ray Lotty said Mrs Wilson felt helping others was very important.

‘‘She was certainly a modest person but she did realise that the work that she was doing was work that was given to her by God and therefore was very important,’’ Captain Lotty said.

‘‘I can remember quite vividly Jayne saying that, for every person that is trapped in the cycle of addiction, there are 46 others that are also affected, and we’re here for all of them.’’

Mrs Wilson had been fighting cancer for nearly two years but had finished her treatment several months ago and returned to work.

She was on long-service leave and had just returned from a holiday with her husband, Vince, last week when she was feeling unwell and went back into hospital.

Captain Lotty said that Mrs Wilson’s death had come as quite a shock to those who knew her.

‘‘The people I’ve spoken to, that’s the words they’ve used – absolutely shocked,’’ Captain Lotty said.

‘‘I only spoke with her and prayed with her the evening before and Jayne is a real fighter – so it was quite a shock.’’

He said she would be remembered as ‘‘a lady that encouraged not only people with her words but with her life’’ and that her work would live on at the Salvos.

He said in one way she had left a hole but in another way her legacy would live on in the lives of her team through the encouragement and training she gave.




… She came to see me later and said, ‘it was amazing to think that I was on the telephone … and you were saving my life while you were on a drip to save yours’.

As Jayne Wilson, community program manager at The Salvation Army Wollongong Corps, sat in hospital receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer, her phone rang. On the other end was a woman threatening to take her own life.

Despite her own health issues, Jane calmly talked the woman through her crisis and arranged support. She says that experience showed her clearly that service to God “is a lifetime tenure, no matter the circumstances”.

For more than 15 years, Jayne has overseen the establishment and then development of The Salvation Army’s First Floor Restoration Program in Wollongong.

The service offers support for those in addiction, for families with a member in addiction, plus a range of other services including employment training and support for those released from prison.

Jayne is also chaplain to the Lake Illawarra Command of NSW Police, has helped establish a support program for emergency services personnel, and played a key role in a number of pilot programs with agencies including the Department of Corrective Services.

Jayne spent her early years working in the hospitality industry. As her seven children got older, she began studying and training with organisations such as Drug Arm and Teen Challenge, working with people in addiction until a door opened to support chaplaincy work in a prison.

“I worked with two people [who’d been in addiction] for 18 months and they stayed clean,” she says. “But one night they … committed a really bad crime.

“I rang the [prison] chaplain and asked if he’d look out for them, and when he said no I was shocked. But then he said, ‘it’s about time you churchy people got out of your churches and looked after them yourself’. So I said, ‘well you get me in and I’ll come’.”

The experiences she had in that environment were life changing and provided a deep foundation for her later work at First Floor.

Jayne says at times she is humbled at the thousands of lives saved and changed through the Army’s Wollongong centre, plus the dedication and unique skills of the First Floor staff. “God is just amazing,” she says.



One of the many tributes to Jayne on her Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/jayne.wilson.7161?fref=ts

Our great friend, Jayne Wilson has been called to her eternal home. Our love, care and prayerful support goes to her husband Vincent and her family. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Envoy Jayne Wilson, you gave of yourself unstintingly for others. You were a blessing to so many.

You were loved by so many. Your family included your own and the rest of society, because you adopted us all.

You truly followed wherever your Lord led you. You gave of yourself to all who were in need of your counsel and care. You set the pace for the rest of us.

To know you was to love you as a true friend and to be challenged by you passion for people facing very difficult situations.

I thank God for every interaction with you. The many hours on the Corps Building Committe for 8 years. Your personal friendship and the thoughts and concepts you produced.

You were God’s Gift to The Salvation Army. You have been faithful to your calling. God has blessed your ministry to so many here in Australia & in Canada.

My last conversation with you was on Christmas Eve at Wollongong Hospital.

Thank you for everything.



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