About Sylvia Marshall

Sylvia founded Able Training International in 1992 and built the business to be a global market leader in its sector. This led Sylvia to work in the varied markets of the UK, US and both Central and Eastern Europe.

In 2002, Sylvia project managed the transformation of a derelict Croydon Bank into the company’s prestigious offices. This not only sparked a new hobby but was watched by thousands as Sylvia broadcast her exploits on the web. At a time when video streaming was still in its infancy and dial up was the norm, it was clear that this was a winning idea but as Sylvia said at the time “this is all new, great fun and very exciting but not the day job!”

Sylvia and Jimmy Hill NSAIn 2007, Sylvia was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the UK National Sales Awards and this was the catalyst of a career change. Whilst continuing to accept speaking engagements and literary offers, technology had moved on and she began turning her hobby into a serious business, namely www.cosyhomesonline.com

At the outset, Sylvia didn’t have any specialist knowledge but embarked on a series of training initiatives covering the basic trade skills of bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, carpentry and electrical understanding. She quickly learned that there was a gap between the TV fantasy and the reality of doing these things yourself and was determined that this new website had to be different in every way -  not least in showing each project progress 'warts and all' !

Digger PhotoShe says “I’m an ordinary middle aged woman and I feel it’s important to show that there is just so much anyone can do with even a little knowledge....and a lot of determination! I’m here tackling various projects and so can you!” She adds “here at cosyhomesonline.com, we cover some major building 'rescues' and if you want some inspiration from live projects in action, our video updates are the place for you. Equally if you want to tackle some work yourself, our sister site at www.bubsydogdiy.com shows you how.

The cosyhomesonline.com difference extends far beyond the website and is a reflection of Sylvia’s personality and beliefs. At the very outset, Sylvia was determined that this new company should give something back - long before ‘corporate responsibility’ became the norm. This is something that continues today with the current charity partner being Marie Curie Cancer Care. As well as her mentoring programme, Sylvia structured cosyhomesonline.com to operate as a ‘virtual company.’ As Sylvia says “this means that we can benefit from the talents of those who can’t always work in the conventional workplace and hopefully fulfil a social need too”

A similar philosophy is reflected in the projects undertaken in that these are never undertaken for the sole motive of profit. As Sylvia explains, “Whilst undertaken as a commercial proposition, the build projects are about very much about protecting the future whilst remembering the past. It is so important to me that anything we build adds to rather than detracts from an area and that community and if that means a lesser margin, so be it.”

Sylvia was recently named as a business Ambassador of Croydon, where the company began and has continued to grow since 2002. The Ambassador Scheme is part of a programme to enhance and raise the borough's profile and provide a place where people can live, work or invest.

Before and After