Jay Slater: What is the GoFundMe money being used for as search for missing teen continues?

Jay Slater, 19, went missing in Tenerife more than a week ago  (PA Media)
Jay Slater, 19, went missing in Tenerife more than a week ago (PA Media)

The disappearance of British teenager Jay Slater has captured the attention of the nation in the days since he went missing in Tenerife.

Authorities are undertaking a huge search operation for the 19-year-old who vanished seemingly without a trace on the morning of 17 June after attending a rave.

While teams continue to scour the Spanish island’s mountainous terrain where he was last seen, people at home in the UK are searching for ways to assist from afar.

One option they have taken is donating to a fundraiser set up by Jay’s friend Lucy, who was the last person to speak to him on the morning he went missing.

However, GoFundMe has had to suspend several fake fundraisers that cropped up in Jay’s name. Some people are also unsure how the money donated will be used. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

For the latest updates on the search, follow our live link by clicking here.

Rescuers scour the Los Carrizales ravine (Reuters)
Rescuers scour the Los Carrizales ravine (Reuters)

What is the official GoFundMe page?

The Official GoFundMe page was set up by Jay’s friend Lucy.

In the description, she details the circumstances around his disappearance and the “frantic” phone call she had with him the morning he went missing.

He had attended the NRG festival with friends last Sunday but travelled to an Airbnb there during the early hours of Monday morning with two men he met at the festival - without realising the distance from his apartment in the tourist area of Los Cristianos.

At around 8.15am, Mr Slater called Lucy, who had been at the festival with him, to tell her he had missed his bus and was planning to make the 11-hour walk back to his accommodation.

The last known location of the apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, placed him on a path in the Rural de Teno National Park at 8.50am.

People can find the fundraiser, which has surpassed the £30,000 target, here as the search continues.

Rescuers carry out a search operation with drones (Reuters)
Rescuers carry out a search operation with drones (Reuters)

What will money be spent on?

As the donations pour in, questions have been raised about what the money will be used for.

But Jay Slater’s mother Debbie Duncan, 55, has now said the funds will go towards the search efforts, the family’s accommodation and food expenses in her latest update.

She said some of the money will be withdrawn with the help of GoFundMe, but has not revealed how much.

She wrote on the fundraising page: “I would like to thank everyone for your support, kind messages, and good wishes. It’s difficult to wrap our heads around what is happening right now, but we are not losing hope that we will find Jay and return home together.

“We are currently working with GoFundMe to withdraw part of the funds, which are being safely held. I wanted to share that these funds will be used to support the mountain rescue teams who are tirelessly searching for Jay. Additionally, since our stay in Tenerife needs to be extended, we will also use the funds to cover accommodation and food expenses. I’m surrounded by wonderful people who are by my side, but far from their loved ones, so we’ll also be using part of these funds to fly them to Tenerife so we can support each other during these dark times.

“Thank you again for all your donations and support, this means the world to us.”

Jay Slater with mum Debbie Duncan (Supplied)
Jay Slater with mum Debbie Duncan (Supplied)

What has GoFundMe said?

Nearly a dozen other GoFundMe pages supposedly set up for Jay were promptly shut down as suspected scams.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “Our hearts go out to Jay Slater, his family and everyone else concerned about his disappearance. All campaigns are under review and no money will be transferred unless we can verify it goes straight to his family.

“At moments like this, we often see people set up campaigns to benefit strangers when they are moved to help. That is why we work with organisers to ensure any money donated goes to the right place.

“GoFundMe has a dedicated Trust & Safety team reviewing all relevant fundraisers. In addition to the team of experts, we deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identity of organisers and the recipient of the fundraiser.

“Before money is transferred, an individual or organisation’s information, including their banking information, must be verified.”