Legacy not Pregacy

02/02/2015 14:19 GMT | Updated 30/03/2015 10:59 BST

I am a bit of a cynic about the human and social aspects of events legacy. Energy and promise is concentrated at the planning stage. Legacy forums proliferate and good intentions blossom in the run up to events. Then after the big bang of the event there is a black hole. A better word than legacy for what so often happens might be 'pregacy'.

My cynicism was fuelled some years back when I was asked to help a host city that shall be nameless to develop a legacy plan. Not only did the request come late, a year out from the event itself, but the agency we commissioned to build the plan found that, after the media photocall to publicise the good intention, engagement dwindled day by day.

Needless to say, we never saw any outcomes post event.

Get Set bucks this trend. This education programme is delivered by the British Olympic Foundation (BOF) on behalf of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Association (BPA). It has reached around 6.5 million young people in 26,000 (over 80%) of the UK's schools. Unarguably impressive.

As event-based legacy initiatives are so often short-lived, Get Set should by now be a fast fading memory yet the opposite is true.

Get Set's Road to Rio, launched by Seb Coe, breathes new life into the programme. Spirit of 2012's investment supports the creation of high-quality online content and digital interactivity, generating more opportunities for young people to engage with and learn via digital media. Get Set can now communicate directly with young people, as well as revitalising and renewing the relevance of classroom activities.

A mass participation project that is well placed to bring the Games in Brazil to life. This new free app will boost enthusiasm for physical activity and sport and inspire people to get involved as individuals and groups in their own Road to Rio - the 9,298k challenge. They can cycle, run, walk, row, wheel or swim the distance from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the main stadium in Rio, recording their personal contribution to a group or school class total, and charting their progress on the journey.

Young people set their own goals and personal targets while contributing to the achievements of a team - a smart incentive to improve their physical well-being, while connecting them to their school or local communities.

In 2012 there was much, typically British, anti-Games grumpiness in the run up to the event. People moaned about the cost, the disruption to public transport, the prospect of 24/7 coverage of 'boring' sport. Yet much of that died away when the torch relay started its nationwide tour, then when Danny Boyle's dazzling opening ceremony made us laugh, marvel and cry and conclusively when the 'gold rush' of medals started. The question now is how much will Rio's Games, half a world away, mean to people here in the UK?

Translating teaching and learning, or the highs of spectator inspiration, into action has historically been a huge challenge. Get Set's Road to Rio promises to be an innovative and inclusive way of channelling the inspiration of the Games through educational technology to encourage young people to continue that spark of inspiration and have healthy and active lives.

And in the process of doing so - it shows a cynic like me that events legacy initiatives can be long-lived, transferable and of continually renewed relevance.