Join us in making an owl and share your hopes, dreams and expectations for the future of Leeds.

Get involved

We’re inviting the people of Leeds to take part in our Give a Hoot! campaign.

Get creative and share your hopes, dreams and expectations for the future by making an owl. Owls will be placed on display at Leeds City Museum during Mental Health Awareness Week 13 to 19 May 2024. We’re inviting people aged 60+ to take part in our Give a Hoot! campaign.

Every owl we receive represents someone who gives a hoot – the more hoots the better!

How to make your owl

So long as it fits in the palm of your hand, you can create your owl using whatever materials you can find or have lying around at home. Crochet, painted, hand-drawn or origami – the more creative, the better.

If you are stuck for ideas, you’ll find some inspiration further down this page, including accessible instructions on how to create an origami owl and the story behind our ‘Give a Hoot!’ campaign.

Including your hopes, dreams or expectations

Don’t forget to include a message with your owl. You could write this on the owl itself or send your owl with a note. Here are some prompts if you’re stuck on what to say:

  • If I could change one thing about Leeds for older people, it would be….
  • For a better future, we must…
  • I hope that in future…

Send your owl off to roost

Once you’re happy with your owl, drop it off at one of the below community libraries any time before Friday 14 April and we’ll do the rest.

Alternatively, you could:

  • Post your owl to: MindWell – Give a Hoot!, Suite C24, Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds, LS3 1AB.
  • Or take a photo of your owl and email it to:
  • Or post to social media and tag us: @MindWellLeeds

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee the return of individual creations.

Participating libraries

  • Headingley Community Hub and Library, 9B North Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3HG
  • Compton Road Library, The Compton Centre, Harehills Lane, Leeds LS9 7BG
  • Reginald Centre Library, 263 Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 3EX
  • Moor Allerton Library, Moor Allerton Centre, King Lane, Leeds LS17 5NY
  • Morley Library, Commercial St, Morley, Leeds LS27 8HZ
  • Rothwell Library, Rothwell, Leeds LS26 0AG
  • Hunslet Library, Waterloo St, Hunslet, Leeds LS10 2NS
  • Garforth Library, Lidgett Lane, Garforth, Leeds LS25 1EH
  • Central Leeds Library, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 3AB
  • Armley Library, 2 Stocks Hill, Armley, Leeds LS12 1UQ
  • Pudsey Library, Church Lane, Pudsey, Leeds LS28 7TY
  • Horsforth Library, Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5BL

How to make an origami owl

  1. Fold a square piece of plain or patterned paper in half diagonally, then open it back up. To do this, bring one corner over onto the opposite corner, creating a diagonal fold from one corner to the other. Crease the fold before opening the paper to lay flat. Tip: If you’re using a piece of paper that only has colour on one side, start with the paper colour-side down so that the white side is facing you. If you’re unsure which side is which due to a visual impairment, don’t worry, it’s not important and you’ll still have an owl shaped creation at the end!
  2. Turn the square so that it is a diamond shape in front of you with the creased line running down the centre. Fold each of the 2 corners on either side of the crease halfway to the middle to form the wings, making sure not to fold them all the way into the middle. There should be about a thumbs width gap in between the two edges. Line up the vertical edges of the folds so that they’re parallel with the centre crease. Tip: Try to fold the left and right corners the same amount on both sides so that the wings are even.
  3. You should now have a tall diamond shape in front of you with two wings folded toward the centre. At the top of the diamond should be one of the original pointed corners. Fold this top corner down to the middle of the paper to meet the bottom edge of the folded wings. This is going to be the head of the owl. Crease it along the top edge. Your diamond should now be a classic jewel shape with a triangle bottom and a trapezoid on top like the shape of a house roof. Tip: Line up the corner with the bottom of the wings when you fold it down.
  4. To make the head of the owl, take the last folded corner in the centre and fold this pointed corner up towards you so it lines up with the top edge and crease the fold
  5. Then, fold the corner back down about halfway to create the beak. Tip: Bring the corner down past the bottom edge of the head when you’re making the beak.
  6. Flip the paper over and fold the bottom corner up to the top edge. To do this, turn the paper so the back is facing you. Bring the bottom corner up, aligning it with the flat edge at the top of the owl before creasing it. Tip: Make the crease at the base of the owl as straight as possible and parallel to the top edge.
  7. Keeping your owl face down, fold the corner you’ve just folded back down, so the tip hangs over the bottom edge. Bring the corner down just slightly further than the bottom edge of the owl. Crease it, so it stays in place, forming the tail. Tip: If you don’t fold the corner down past the edge, you won’t be able to see the owl’s tail from the front.

You did it! Now all you need to do is add some eyes and a bit of decoration! You could even write your message in the space on the back.

If you are visually impaired and would like to express your creativity in a different way, you are welcome to create your owl using any materials or art form, so long as the end result fits in the palm of your hand.

Why origami?

Origami is an ancient Japanese art form that involves folding paper into intricate designs without the use of scissors or glue. The art of origami has been practised for centuries and is now enjoyed by people all over the world.

One of the most well-known origami myths is the story of the 1000 origami cranes.

According to this myth, folding 1000 origami cranes will grant the folder one wish. The story became popular after Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who survived the bombing of Hiroshima, began folding cranes while she was in the hospital, hoping to recover from leukemia.

Although Sadako did not reach her goal of folding 1000 cranes before she passed away, her story inspired others to continue folding cranes as a symbol of hope and peace.

We want to create as many owls as we can to show that people of Leeds give a hoot and have something to say about the future of the city. Who knows, we might even make it to 1000 owls and be granted a wish!

Why owls?

Instead of cranes, we’re making owls to represent the people of Leeds. Owls feature on the Leeds Coat-of-Arms and can be spotted all around the city on buildings and signs. In fact, there are twenty-five owls on the official Leeds Owl Trail!

Learn more about the link between Leeds and owls.

Mindful making

Origami isn’t just about crafting beautiful paper creations; it’s a mindful activity that boosts mental wellbeing.

Folding paper in a focused way can be a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, helping us relax by connecting our minds and bodies to the present moment.

And while we can’t always control what happens in the future, reflecting on the changes we want to see can shine a light on what we care about. Taking time to get to know ourselves better, without judgment, is another way to feel better.

Plus, you’ll be joining a community of local voices, raising awareness about what matters most to people in Leeds!