Ulla Bartels was a volunteer at the Fairfield Neighbourhood Centre. She began teaching English to refugees from Indochina in 1978, drawing on her own experiences as a migrant from Germany. Her students turned to her for help with a wide variety of settlement issues including, housing, employment, pensions and assistance with government forms and applications.
She encouraged others to volunteer leading to the formation of the South-East Asian Community Assistance Centre (SEACA). The organisation grew in size and scope becoming the Cabramatta Community Centre and then CORE Community Services.